Shropshire Star

On This Day in 2012 – Didier Drogba confirms China move will follow Chelsea exit

The Ivory Coast international agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Shanghai Shenhua.


Didier Drogba revealed on this day in 2012 that he was joining Shanghai Shenhua following the expiration of his Chelsea contract.

Fresh from firing the Blues to their maiden Champions League triumph, the Ivory Coast international agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Chinese club, reportedly worth £200,000 per week.

The move saw him reunited with his fellow former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka.

Soccer – Barclays Premier League – Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion – Stamford Bridge
Didier Drogba scored 164 goals across 381 appearances for Chelsea (Neil Tingle/PA)

“I am looking forward to a new challenge, to experiencing a new culture, and excited about the new developments in the Chinese Super League,” said Drogba.

“I hope to help promote Chinese football around the world and further improve the links between China and Africa.”

Drogba, then aged 34, had been continually linked with Shanghai after contract talks at Stamford Bridge stalled over the length of a new deal.

The previous month he had scored the winning penalty in Chelsea’s shootout Champions League final success over Bayern Munich, having earlier forced extra time with a late header, and fired the decisive goal in the club’s FA Cup final win over Liverpool at Wembley.

But his stay in China proved to be brief.

Soccer – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 – Second Leg – Chelsea v Galatasaray – Stamford Bridge
Drogba’s stay in China was brief and he moved to Galatasaray soon after (Nick Potts/PA)

After registering eight goals in just 11 outings, he transferred to Turkish club Galatasaray in January 2013 before returning to Chelsea for a second stint in July 2014.

He won a fourth Premier League title with the Blues the following season – adding to the four FA Cup successes, three League Cup triumphs and European glory from his maiden spell – before moving on to MLS side Montreal Impact in 2015 and then finishing his career with Phoenix Rising in 2018.

In total, Drogba managed 164 goals in 381 appearances for Chelsea, having initially been one of Jose Mourinho’s first major signings when he arrived from Marseille for £24million in 2004.

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