Chinese football pinning hopes on Seedorf and Drogba
Beijing: The guessing game about which famous football star will be the next to land in China gained momentum as more big names were linked to Chinese soccer.
Former Dutch playmaker Clarence Seedorf`s picture of him standing in front of the Beijing Guoan club Monday spread quickly on internet and led to a new round of guesswork as to whether he will join the 2009 Chinese Super League (CSL) champions, Xinhua reported.
Also Monday, Cote d`Ivoire great Didier Drogba told the newly-crowned Champions League winners Chelsea that he would leave next season and reports linked him with another CSL team Shanghai Shenhua.
Despite that sources close to Guoan said that the 36-year-old Seedorf only came here for a youth program, the enthusiasm for world class stars is expected to keep up in an effort to regenerate the scandal-tarnished Chinese soccer.
The latest arrival is former Italy coach Marcello Lippi who inked a three-year contract with the super-rich Guangzhou Evergrande and is reportedly paid 10 million euros (about $13 million) per year.
Ex-Chelsea star Anelka`s big money move easily subdued Evergrande`s former record signing of Brazilian championship MVP Dario Conca. The Argentine midfielder was brought to Guangzhou last year with a yearly salary of seven million dollars and 10 million dollars transfer fee.
Anelka, recently appointed player-coach, faces a big challenge to help Shenhua rise in the standings. Shenhua is struggling in 14th place after 11 rounds in the 16-team CSL and the bottom two sides will be relegated into the first division.