Drogba makes China move
(CNN) — Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba confirmed his switch to China’s Shanghai Shenhua on Wednesday, a move which will reunite him with former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka.
Drogba announced he would leave Chelsea days after scoring the penalty which beat Bayern Munich in last month’s European Champions League final, and the 34-year-old has signed a two-year deal to become the Chinese Super League’s latest high-profile star.
The two-time African footballer of the year will reportedly be paid £200,000 ($315,000) a week, which would make him China’s highest-paid player.
“I have considered all the offers I have received in the past few weeks, but feel that Shanghai Shenhua FC is the right move for me at this time,” said Drogba in a statement released through his representatives.
“I am looking forward to a new challenge, to experiencing a new culture, and I’m excited about the new developments in the Chinese Super League.
Didier Drogba leaves Chelsea
Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties to win the Champions League trophy for the first time in their history
Chelsea fans packed the streets around southwest London to see the victory parade
Chelsea captain John Terry was suspended for the final but lifted the trophy in Munich and was center of the celebrations again on the parade
An estimated 100,000 Chelsea fans were in Munich for the final and thousands more lined the parade route on Sunday
Roberto di Matteo has guided Chelsea to the FA Cup and Champions League, but still doesn’t know if he will get the manager’s job permanently
Didier Drogba, who could leave the club in the summer, scored for Chelsea to take the game into extra time and converted the winning penalty
Chelsea parade Champions League trophy
Chelsea’s players lift the Champions League for the first time after their dramatic win over Bayern Munich.
Bayern Munich’s supporters packed their home Allianz Arena to see their heroes take on Chelsea.
Thomas Mueller celebrates his opening goal for Bayern Munich with just seven minutes remaining.
Didier Droga proved Chelsea’s hero with a goal in normal time and the penalty shootout winner.
Arjen Robben is left stunned after his penalty effort is saved by Petr Cech and he cannot convert the follow up.
Chelsea win Champions League for the first time
Manchester United is the most valuable brand in football according to a report by independent consultancy Brand Finance. The global appeal and on-field success of the 19-time English champions has helped establish a brand worth an estimated $853 million.
Bayern Munich’s players and fans were distraught after losing Saturday’s European Champions League to Chelsea, but the German team’s brand was second on the list, valued at $786 million.
Real Madrid recently pipped Barcelona to the Spanish title, but both clubs have suffered setbacks financially. Both brands decreased, by 7% and 8% respectively, as a result of the eurozone crisis and its impact on the Spanish economy.
Chelsea’s brand value was significantly boosted by the European triumph. The west London club, backed by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, is ranked fifth on the list valued at $398 million.
Manchester City’s dramatic Premier League title win has increased the value of the Abu Dhabi-owned English club’s brand, putting it eighth on the list, worth an estimated $302 million.
The 2011 Major League Soccer champions Los Angeles Galaxy had the honor of meeting President Barack Obama earlier this month. Galaxy, 50th on the list, still struggle to attract commercial rights deals which compare to the club’s European counterparts.
Brand power: Football’s most valuable clubs
“I hope to help promote Chinese football around the world and further improve the links between China and Africa.”
Former France international Anelka made the move from Stamford Bridge to Shanghai in January and even had a brief spell as the team’s coach following Jean Tigana’s exit in April.
Former Argentina coach Sergio Batista is now in charge of the team, and he is looking forward to working with former Marseille star Drogba.
“Drogba is a very good soccer player, his outstanding skills and amazing experience will give us motivation to improve our games,” said Argentina’s 1986 World Cup winner.
“It is my honor to invite him to join in our team. At last I have to say that the club owner Zhu Jun did his utmost to bring Drogba to Shenhua.”
Shanghai is currently 12th in the league, with only three wins all season. But Shenhua owner Zhu is confident Drogba can have a positive impact on results as he seeks his first title since taking over in 2007 — and the club’s first since 2003.
Drogba scored 157 goals for Chelsea in his eight seasons at the club, winning three English Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups as well as the London club’s long-awaited first European crown.
“We have been wanting to sign Didier for a while, and are very happy that it has finally happened,” said Zhu.
“He is an incredible player, who has won so many trophies in his career, we feel that his experience and ability will be a very valuable asset to our squad.
“Shanghai is one of the most influential cities in the world, and we are very excited to welcome Didier here.”
Drogba and Anelka are two of a number of soccer stars to have joined China’s premier football competition.
Italy’s World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi is now in charge at Guangzhou Evergrande, an ambitious club who in the last year have signed Argentine Dario Conca and Paraguay’s Lucas Barrios.