Drogba makes immediate impact in China
"I am happy that everything went right in my first 45 minutes here," he said after helping Shanghai Shenhua achieve an away draw against Guangzhou R and F here on Sunday.
"It was a little bit hard for me to get into the game at the beginning, but when I got used to the rhythm, I began to enjoy the game," the Cote d'Ivoire striker said.
"I am feeling good now and was accustomed to all things in China now. It is very comfortable playing alongside my former teammate Nicole (Anelka)," he added.
The 34-year old arrived in China a week ago, sealing a deal that reportedly worth 200,000 pounds a week, making him the highest-paid player in China and among the top worldwide.
The fans already went crazy when he arrived and couldn' t wait for his debut. ut Shenhua' s coach Batista reserved the 34-year old until the away match against Guangzhou R and F.
But it was Guangzhou who enjoyed a dreaming start as Shenhua offered an own goal in the beginning of the match. However, Shenhua's trailing became good news for the fans as Shenhua coach Batista called up Drogba to make preparations early in the 40th minutes.
The 34-year old, wearing his No.11 jersey, finally came to the field at the start of the second half.
Only at the third minute of his CSL career Drogba tested Guangzhou' s keeper with a curving free-kick. He made another 3 shots with 2 of them on target.
"Drogba maintained a nice feel of the ball, the way he plays is a nightmare for a keeper," said Guangzhou' s keeper Cheng Yuelei, who was under great pressure every time Drogba possessed the ball.
The 34-year old brought the match to climax by dishing out a pinpoint through pass into the box to see Cao Yunding made it home easily for Shanghai Shenhua.
"I said before the match that Drogba could play 30 minutes according to his physic, but I was wrong. He showed his uniqueness in the team, although he has yet to do more to recover," the Argentinean said at the press conference after the match.
Phillipe Troussier, Guangzhou R and F's neighbour rivals Shenzhen Ruby' s coach, was impressed by Drogba' s impressive debut.
"He changed the atmosphere immediately after he got onto the pitch, although he is not 100 percent now. I think he could help Shanghai a lot, both tactically and mentally," the Frenchmen said after watching the whole match on the stand.
Guangzhou R and F's Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who embarked the Chinese Super League in June after playing in the English Premiere League for ten years, has already proved himself with a winning goal over derby rivals Guangzhou Evergrande a week ago. Yakubu showed great appreciation to his former Premier League and current Chinese Super league opponent.
"He showed the quality today you know, he gave more confidence to the team, you have to see the way he played today, when he is 100 percent, he can help Shanghai win the league ," he said.
Drogba, however, has already provided the immediate impact on Chinese football. The fans burst to cheers each time he got the ball and shouted "Drogba" and "Didier" in English.
"Although he only played for 45 minutes, he proved his value, 200,000 pounds a week, so what? I hope to see more real world-class players like Drogba come to China, " Huang Zhiliang, a Guangzhou fan said. (Xinhua-ANI)