Challenge, not money, brought me to China - Drogba

SHANGHAI Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:56pm IST

1 of 2. Shanghai Shenhua's soccer player Didier Drogba from Ivory Coast attends a news conference in Shanghai, July 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Aly Song

Related Topics

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - It is not money but the big challenge in an unfamiliar land that lured Didier Drogba to China, the Ivory Coast striker said on Saturday.

More than 300 fans gathered at the Shanghai airport to welcome Drogba on his much-anticipated arrival to join Chinese Super League strugglers Shanghai Shenhua.

Drogba has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the big-spending club for a reported salary of $300,000 a week, ending weeks of speculation on his future after he announced his decision to leave Champions League winners Chelsea.

"I decided to come here because when the club and the president approached me, I looked at the project and it came with ambitious ideas and he wants to ... help football develop in China," Drogba told reporters after his unveiling.

"I know China is a great sports country so for me it was also a big challenge because it could have been easy for me to stay in Europe and go to another team, another big team.

"Really, I didn't come here with the idea of making a lot of money. I come here because it is a completely different challenge from what I have seen in Europe before.

"And that's the idea, there are many challenges but this one is a big one."

Drogba's arrival is the latest in a long list of high-profile names who have made the move to China in recent months.

Italian World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi is in charge of a Guangzhou Evergrande side packed full of skilful South American talent.

Drogba, who scored 157 times in 341 appearances for Chelsea making him the club's fourth all-time leading scorer, is the biggest catch of them all.

POOR RESULTS

The 34-year old striker will join former Chelsea team mate Nicolas Anelka at the club struggling at the 13th spot in the 16-club Chinese Super League. Shanghai Shenhua is coached by former Argentina boss Sergio Batista.

"The results of my new team, they are not so good, not so great. But you know, the second part of the season just started and I think we have time to make some better results and to bring the club to a better place," Drogba said.

"With my team mates, we are going to perform as much as we can. And I came here to win the league, I am not coming here as the beginning of the retirement or something like this.

"I want people to make sure and to understand that I am here to win. I am not here to sit and relax."

The fans arrived in the early hours of the morning at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, many dressed in the club's blue jersey bearing "Drogba 11", and their hopes were also pinned on the Drogba-Anelka strike force.

"I believe that with his arrival, our results will improve significantly, because he has a good rapport with Anelka," 23-year-old Zhu Hongbo said.

"Also, we have brought in a midfield player in (Giovanni) Moreno. I think for the second half of the year, our results will improve and we can be in the top three."

(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Asian Games

REUTERS SHOWCASE

French Great

French Great

Zidane could be interested in France coaching job.  Full Article 

Coach Wishes

Coach Wishes

Chelsea must avoid Europa League, says Mourinho.  Full Article 

Clampdown

Clampdown

F1 teams warned against coded messages.  Full Article 

Hamstring Injury

Hamstring Injury

Australia captain Clarke ruled out of Pakistan ODIs.  Full Article 

Ultimate Sanction

Ultimate Sanction

QPR bank on Premier League survival as expulsion threat looms.  Full Article 

Davis Cup

Davis Cup

Davis Cup to remain annual event - ITF chief.  Full Article 

New Contract

New Contract

Chelsea expect Hazard to sign new deal.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage