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Finally, Drogba says deal is final with Shanghai

By Tang Zhe | China Daily | Updated: 2012-06-21 08:30


Didier Drogba is coming to China.


The former Chelsea striker finally ended a dance that's played out over six months, announcing on his website on Wednesday that he's signed a 2 1/2-year deal with the Chinese Super League's Shanghai Shenhua.

He will join the squad in July.

"I have considered all the offers I have received in the past few weeks, but I feel that Shanghai Shenhua FC is the right move for me at this time," the 34-year-old wrote on his website on Wednesday afternoon. "I am looking forward to a new challenge and to experiencing a new culture, and I am excited about the new developments in the Chinese Super League."

Shenhua boss Zhu Jun posted a photo on his weibo account minutes later in which he stood with Drogba as both held a Shenhua jersey.

Shenhua coach Sergio Batista told Argentine media that the Chinese club had already signed a preliminary contract with Drogba before he was put in charge of the team last month. While he didn't expect too much from the striker's arrival, club boss Zhu said the club's goal of winning the league championship has never changed.

The former Argentina manager said it would be fantastic to coach Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Columbian international Giovanni Moreno, who is said to be arriving in Shanghai on Thursday. But it's almost impossible for his team to win the championship, and it will fight for the Chinese Football Association Cup, in which the winner will qualify for the AFC Champions League.

Drogba's arrival was regarded as a positive by Chinese fans.

In an on-line vote by, through Wednesday afternoon, more than half the respondents said they were surprised Shenhua brought Drogba to China, more than 74 percent believed Drogba will play a significant role, and more than 90 percent said the transfer will have positive effects and increase the league's popularity.

No financial details of the contract were revealed by Drogba, or the club, but widespread media reports said the triker would receive in the region of $300,000 a week.

"The twin guns of Chelsea will now don the jerseys of Shanghai Shenhua to do battle at Hongkou Stadium," Shanghai said on its website. "This scene would perhaps only be played out on a fantasy football game. But today, this dream has become a reality. With hard work and determination, a dream will always become reality one day."

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