China fails to retain highly paid footballers

  • AFP, Shanghai
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 26, 2012 23:52 IST

If Frank Lampard is to swap Chelsea for China, he might do well to first consider the colourful experiences of his former team-mates Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba.

Pay disputes, off-pitch rows and an alien culture have seen many of the foreign stars to have joined the Chinese Super League beating down the door to get out again, sometimes months after arriving, after being unable to settle.

The first foray
Former France striker Anelka became the first genuine world football figure to play in China when he was snapped up by Shanghai Shenhua for a widely reported 175,000 pounds a week 10 months ago. He was joined in Shanghai in the summer by Drogba, who signed for an eye-watering 200,000 pounds a week.

But the 33-year-old Anelka quickly saw his move turn sour and is in talks with the club to leave, with reports suggesting Drogba might go with him.

Drogba is yet to receive his salary for December because of a boardroom row, said the Oriental Sports Daily, while Shenhua told AFP that talks are under way with Anelka to cancel the remaining year of his mammoth contract. Things soon unravelled. The Shenhua head coach, former Fulham boss Jean Tigana, was sacked following a player revolt after just five games in charge. Weeks later Anelka was making headlines again by threatening to quit Shenhua -- whose middle-aged owner gives himself a game occasionally -- after the club asked the Frenchm-an to make way for former Arg-entina manager Sergio Batista.

Few success stories
Success stories of players coming from Europe's top leagues are few. Yakubu scored nine goals in 14 games for Guangzhou R&F last season. Marlon Harewood also enjoyed a successful spell at Guangzhou R&F, scoring four times before returning to England after just 10 games in 2011.


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