By Jonathan Davies

Chinese billionaire Wang Jainlin is close to buying a 20% stake in Spanish football champions Atletico Madrid in a move to diversify his business portfolio.

The 60-year old, who is China's second richest man behind Alibaba boss Jack Ma at a worth of $13.2bn, will buy the stake for €45m ($52m; £34m).

Atletico Madrid upset the odds last season to beat the giants of Spanish football, Real Madrid and Barcelona, to the league title. And they came within minutes of winning the Champions League, the biggest prize in European football.

Mr Jainlin's property company Dalian Wanda has been purchasing big foreign brands. It has recently bought US cinema chain AMC and UK luxury yacht manufacturer Sunseeker.

The Atletico deal means Dalian Wanda will become the first company to invest in a top European football team.

The club has struggled financially in recent years, building up more than €500m in debt. The club is understood to be keen to work with Jainlin to take advantage of Chinese sponsors and lucrative Asian markets.

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