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Didier Drogba signs with Shanghai Shenhua, Chinese football club

Didier Drogba signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Shanghai Shenhua, saying he hopes to improve China-Africa ties and promote Chinese football.
shanghai shenhua didier drogba 2012-06-20Enlarge
Chelsea's Ivorian striker Didier Drogba gestures during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge in London, on April 7, 2012. Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba said on June 20, 2012 that he had formally signed with Chinese Super League soccer club Shanghai Shenhua. (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Didier Drogba has signed with Shanghai Shenhua, a Chinese football club.

Drogba, a former Chelsea striker, confirmed today he has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Shanghai Shenhua, in the Chinese Super League.

The move will see the Ivory Coast forward join former Blues teammate Nicolas Anelka in China.

"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," Drogba, 34, said on his website.

"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. When Chelsea went to China last year, we had a great time and I met some amazing fans."

"I hope to help promote Chinese football around the world and further improve the links between China and Africa," Drogba said.

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Shanghai Shenhua — the name means "Flower of Shanghai" — were the first football club in China to become independent of government control.

The club is majority-owned by businessman Zhu Jun, and has previously signed well-known players including Carsten Jancker and Jorg Albertz.

"We have been wanting to sign Didier for a while and are very happy that it has finally happened," Zhu said, according to the BBC.

According to Reuters, the Ivorian is nicknamed "The Beast" in China. 

Drogba said he will fly out to join the squad in July.

Shanghai Shenhua will play Manchester United on July 25 as part of the English club's pre-season tour.

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