Didier Drogba ended weeks of speculation about his future by joining big-spending Chinese Super League strugglers Shanghai Shenhua on Wednesday.
Drogba had been strongly linked with a move to the Far East when he announced last month he was leaving Chelsea after scoring the decisive penalty for the London club in their Champions League final shootout victory over Bayern Munich.
The 34-year-old will join up with his new team mates in July, hoping to make an instant impact and help the side arrest a dismal start to the campaign which has left them sitting 12th in the 16-team league despite heavy investment.
No financial details of the two-and-a-half-year contract were revealed by Drogba or the club but widespread media reports said the Ivory Coast striker would receive in the region of $300,000 a week.
“I have studied all the offers I had during the past few weeks and I have the feeling that going to Shanghai is the right direction for me now,” Drogba said on his website (www.didierdrogba.com).
“I am looking forward to that challenge, to discover a new culture and I am very enthusiastic about the development of the Chinese football league.”
His signing is another coup for the reinvigorated Chinese Super League and Drogba will join former Chelsea team mate Nicolas Anelka in a powerful Shanghai forward line that is managed by former Argentina manager Sergio Batista.
Drogba scored 157 times in 341 appearances for Chelsea following his move from Olympique Marseille in 2004, making him the club's fourth all-time leading scorer, while his 34 European goals are a record for the London club. – Reuters