Shao back home after 9-year stint in Germany
Updated: 2011-12-15 07:58
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
BEIJING - Not that you'd know it recently, but Nicolas Anelka isn't the only player in the Chinese Super League (CSL).
Take Shao Jiayi, for example.
The veteran Chinese midfielder decided to end his nine-year German league career and rejoin his original club, Beijing Guo'an.
His remarkable overseas experience now just a memory, Shao said he is at peace with the decision.
Shao Jiayi in Germany in this Nov 14, 2010 file photo. [Photo/CFP]
"Naturally, I just followed the call of my destiny," Shao said. "It's the will from deep inside, I respect it, so I followed it to come back. It's been nine years; how time flies. I have considered it for the past month and a half, and I think it's the right time."
The 31-year-old stressed Guo'an was his top choice once he decided to come back. He said he's happy to fulfill a long-standing promise.
"I made the commitment to return and play for Guo'an at the end of my career before leaving for Germany. I will live up to that. Otherwise, even my kid will criticize me for breaking my vow," said Shao, who was allowed to opt out of his two-year deal with current club MSV Duisburg earlier this month.
Born and raised in Beijing, Shao developed his talent in Guo'an's youth camp and made his professional debut in China's top league in 1999.
Spending four years at the core of Guo'an's roster and representing the nation during its only World Cup berth in 2002, Shao caught the eye of 1860 Munich, which brought him to the Bundesliga the same year. He built a reputation as a deadly free-kicker and assist-generator.
However, injuries cut short his prime and relegated him to a lengthy period on the bench.
Transferring to the then Bundesliga team FC Energie Cottbus in 2006, Shao slowly rekindled his form under the guidance of manager Claus-Dieter Wollitz, his mentor in Germany.
He netted 12 goals in 50 games in the past two seasons after Cottbus was relegated to second division league in 2009, before moving to Duisburg for a possible league promotion this May.
"I was not surprised at all when I heard he's coming back to China," Wollitz wrote in his Titan Sports column on Wednesday. "He is a man who values family a lot, like me, so it's good for him to go home. I always admired his skills and ability. But he failed to earn as much trust as I gave him with the Duisburg side, so the decision is good for him."
Meanwhile, officials from Guo'an bid Shao a warm welcome, stressing the team could benefit from his experience.
"We open the door to him at anytime. He is a son of Beijing, who is eager to return and help his old team. We are optimistic that he remains a good player and can't wait to embrace him," said Guo'an general manager Gao Chao.
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