Wednesday Kickoff: Drogba heads to China, Blatter’s goal-line tweet & more

Drogba (Reuters Pictures)

Didier Drogba's move to China is officially complete.

The former Chelsea star signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Shanghai Shenhua, where he will be reunited with former strike partner Nicolas Anelka while playing under former Argentina coach Sergio Batista.

"I have considered all the offers I have received in the past few weeks, but feel that Shanghai Shenhua FC is the right move for me at this time," Drogba said in a statement released by Chelsea. "I am looking forward to a new challenge, to experiencing a new culture, and excited about the new developments in the Chinese Super League."

Drogba had long been rumored to be signing with Shanghai Shenhua, but that did not stop other teams, such as Italian champion Juventus, from making offers for the 34-year-old Ivory Coast international, who was the hero of Chelsea's run to the UEFA Champions League title.

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:

BLATTER: GOAL-LINE TECHNOLOGY A NECESSITY

After seeing Ukraine be denied a goal against England after replays showed that Marko Devic's shot crossed the line in full, FIFA president Sepp Blatter's reaction was the same as the majority of fans around the world: Goal-line technology is a must.

"After last night's match (goal-line-technology) is no longer an alternative but a necessity," Blatter wrote on his official Twitter account.

The International Football Association Board will meet July 5 to determine whether to implement technology, and if so, which system to use. 

SHEVCHENKO RETIRES FROM UKRAINE

As expected, Tuesday's loss to England was Andriy Shevnchenko's final competitive match on the international level.

The 35-year-old striker retired from international duty after co-host Ukraine was eliminated from Euro 2012 Tuesday, ending a memorable three-game run for the veteran.

"It was my last official game for Ukraine," Shevchenko told reporters. "A bit later on I will arrange a farewell game to say goodbye to supporters."

Shevchenko turned in one of the performances of the tournament with his two-goal effort against Sweden, his first match in a European championship after a decorated club career. He started against France but did not score and then was forced to come off the bench against England while nursing a knee injury. 

SRNA SUGGESTS REF BIAS FOR SPAIN 

Croatia captain Darijo Srna feels that his team wasn't just playing against Spain in its Euro 2012 finale, but that it was going up against the referees as well.

Srna asserted that referee Wolfgang Stark and his crew were biased toward the defending World and European champions, denying Croatia what he feels were two certain penalties. The plays in question were Sergio Ramos' sliding, studs-up challenge while going for a loose ball with Mario Mandzukic and Sergio Busquets' clash with Vedran Corluka late in the match.

"If they had the same situations for Spain, they would give a penalty," Srna said. "We can't change anything but it's not nice when someone doesn't respect you."

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What do you think of Drogba's move? Do you agree with Blatter? What is the extent of video replay that you want in the game? What did you think of Shevchenko's showing at Euro 2012? Do you think Srna has a point?

Share your thoughts below.

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36 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Drogba heads to China, Blatter’s goal-line tweet & more

  1. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Stupid. That club is a mess. He took the big payday (not that he needed it) instead of helping the sport grow in the US. Is he helping the sport grow in Asia? Yeah, probably. But still, it hurts to see starts like him and Raul turn down MLS for rinky dink leagues like China, Qatar, etc.

  2. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    *stars.

    Ives, we need an edit button.

  3. tim says:

    agree… the fact that they have the big money to draw big stars will just make them a bigger league than mls one day…

  4. biff says:

    Great photos of the incredible Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal against France taken at the same moment from two different angles. To see, click on the enlarge button at the lower right side of the first photo and then click ahead to Photos 18 and 19.

    link to tinyurl.com

  5. Old School says:

    “He took the big payday (not that he needed it)”…

    Says who? You? Athlete or not, he’s achieved everything a player can on the club level. Why not cash in and create even more financial security? You’re aware of his extensive charity work back in his country, right?

    “But still, it hurts to see starts like him and Raul turn down MLS for rinky dink leagues like China, Qatar, etc.”

    Even as a big MLS Supporter, I find this statement incredibly arrogant. It’s MLS. Let’s not overstate or stature.

    Sour milk syndrome.

  6. Madaoua05 says:

    Its much easier for the Chinese Super League to spend considerable sums of money on the of salaries of star players when the league is buoyed by government investment.

    But when Drogba is playing in cities that suffer from considerable pollution, and his lungs are screaming at him, I’m sure that he’ll wish that he took the smaller salary in order to play in LA, Seattle, or wherever.

  7. Byron says:

    Blatter is laughable. I’m no England apologist but it’s pretty clear he has a particular hatred for them.

  8. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Create more financial security? You realize the guy is loaded right?

    To reject MLS fans being upset by his move as “sour milk syndrome” is the epitome or arrogance, my good sir. In order for MLS to grow we need to convince guys like Drogba to come here and play. The quality is higher in MLS than in China, but it’s obvious that Drogba has accomplished all he can at the club level and isn’t looking for a challenge. Not so say that MLS would be a challenge, but compared to the level of play in China… hm.

    It’s nice that he does a lot of charity work, and it’s very commendable. That said, most of his salary comes from advertising revenue, anyway. I’m not sure if he can cash in on his name more in the US or China (bigger population but much of it is very rural, no TVs, etc).

  9. bcoug says:

    Why does he have an obligation to help the sport grow in the US? How is taking what is sure to be considerably more money for 2.5 years stupid? You could more easily argue that its the opposite.

  10. Mike says:

    “We played better than Spain, but the referee refused to give us two penalties. We played so well. I can feel that they don’t respect us. Croatia in the last six years has been among the best 10 teams in Europe. It’s not respect…”

    “[about refereeing as a problem] For smaller teams, yes. For bigger teams, no…. Get Croatian referees!”

    “It’s a very difficult moment for Croatia. We go home – but we don’t deserve that.”

    Unbelievable. Yeah, you were the better team with…

    3 shots on goal to Spain’s 14
    36% possession to Spain’s 64%.
    4 corners to Spain’s 11
    29 attacks to Spain’s 51
    6 yellow cards to Spain’s 0

    I hate this loser’s mentality. Neither of those were penalties, especially the Ramos tackle. He was sliding on the ground parallel to the Croatian player and he got ALL BALL. It’s not Ramos’ fault that the Croatian player kicked Ramos instead of the ball.

  11. jay says:

    I just moved back from Shanghai and went to a bunch of Shenhua games. The supporters are really passionate and games are a lot of fun. The team itself is pretty poor, particularly in the midfield. Anelka would often have to drop way bak and try to orchestrate the offense himself. The league itself is unfortunately very corrupt.

    Funny story, I went to a game in early March, and the team store was already selling jerseys with Drogba’s name on it, right next to the Anelka jerseys. Mainland China is a crazy place.

  12. Eurosnob says:

    Who cares about how Blatter feels about England! If FIFA implements the goal line technology, it’s a good thing.

  13. sWo says:

    MLS can’t and won’t compete with these newer leagues with billionaire owners and no salary rules.

    UAE and China will overpay for unwanted players (Gio Moreno) and aging superstars. They are also very vocal about it. MLS clubs are not.

    Every player knows now there are a handful of “retirement” leagues out there. With these countries overpaying players for their name, MLS is less and less one of those leagues.

  14. Todd says:

    Here is the deal that I have been arguing with MLS and American soccer fans for awhile now. Patience and smart investment is the key to success for MLS’s growth and viability. You have to commend MLS for not over-spending on players like Drogba or Raul at this stage in MLS’s existence. The first priority of MLS should encompass all teams having their own stadiums. Once that occurs, the profit margins will widen, teams will begin to accumlate more money, an then MLS clubs will begin to be major players in the international market for up and coming stars instead of retired has beens. This will allow the talent to drastically increase, improve the development academies, improve the reserve division, and help improve the American/Canadian soccer player. We have to be patient, and be happy with the growth of the sport as well as MLS since 1996. I can only assume that in 10 years time, MLS will be able to grab the up and coming talents from Brazil and Argentina, and have them develop into international superstars in MLS rather than in Europe or elsewhere. As Don Garber said, infrastructure is the key to the future success of MLS.

    We should not be disappointed in allowing Drogba to go to China. As they say, “to each, their own.” Let him do his thing their, and let’s try and focus on making MLS more profitable so that we develop our own Drogba’s here, rather than paying ridiculous amounts for an over-age player.

    This is just my two cents on where MLS should be concentrating.

  15. RK says:

    Way to be ahead of the curve, Sepp!

  16. giggity says:

    Post is useless without vids.

  17. chupacabra says:

    Not to mention trying to find food that isn’t tainted with steroids or toxins.

  18. bcoug says:

    link to nationmaster.com

    I’m not sure that it equates to more ability to “cash in”, but there are ALOT more TVs in China than the US.

  19. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    He doesn’t have an obligation to anyone but himself. That said, wouldn’t you have preferred he play in the US?

  20. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s cool to have some insider insight.

  21. Robbie says:

    Yes, I agree.

    Still would have loved to see Drogba in a Galaxy jersey!

  22. bcoug says:

    Sure, but comments like “stupid” and complaints that he’s not “helping the sport grow in the US” make no sense to me.

  23. ben in el cajon says:

    It would have been nice to see Drogba in the USA, but your last post contradicts your original post, at least in tone. If ‘he doesn’t have an obligation to anyone but himself,” then the statement that criticizes Drogba for choosing ‘a big payout’ over helping the US makes no sense. I get really impatient with the idea that athletes owe extra to their fans.

  24. steve98689 says:

    from my understanding, the chinese league is growing very fast and selling out their stadiums. jay – is this true? if so, then china is not overpaying for players. instead they’re buying players to satisfy the crowds. whereas, mls is more afraid to break the bank if the stadiums are not full. i would love to see mls in the top leagues of the world, but let’s be realistic here.

  25. Union2012 says:

    100% agree! I wanted Drogba like most other MLS fans, but not for a price like the one the Chinese team is playing.

    Slow and steady, the league has come far and every year we get better.

  26. mistadobolina says:

    im pissed he won’t be in MLS too, but im more pissed that no MLS team really went public in an effort to sign him. As far as we know no one even made him a competitive offer.

    “i have considered all the offers I have received in the past few weeks”

    if an MLS team offered him anything remotely close to the chinese team i’m sure that he would have considered.

  27. Old School says:

    Got it.

    So, Drogba should have sought out your council first. Should have just said that in your first post.

    Would have saved us several minutes of reading that we’ll never get back.

    You know what’s best for him.

  28. WhiteHart says:

    I definitely agree with most of your post, and agree that slow, patient growth combined with getting all teams a SSS is priority #1.

    BUT, I would argue that if Drogba came to MLS he is the best forward in the league. The guy played this last year at a level that was far above even Henry’s final year at Barca.

    Drogba, while an “aging player” would definitely be more than capable of being a superstar, not just in marketing terms, but on field production as well.

  29. Old School says:

    “Agreed.”

    -Chicago Fire circa last weekend

  30. Ricky B. Free says:

    What game were you watching? The second penalty would have been an easy one to call if the refs and UEFA didnt want Spain to win.

    I hate when people love how a team plays and make ludicrous apologies for a non call or a penalty called in their favour.

  31. SilverRey says:

    I agree! Unless I see a video replay of Drogba’s signature going fully across the line I say it didn’t happen!!!!!!

  32. bryan says:

    i’m so bitter about this Drogba thing. what a waste. chinese league isn’t going to be anything. just let me hate.

  33. Twon says:

    Is the Chinese basketball better then the NBA or European basketball leagues, no. They lose to college teams. So the Chinese soccer league will be the same way. No amount of money in china will make them better then MLS.

  34. Rlw2020 says:

    Lol @ the jersey sales!

    Thanks for sharing!

  35. Rlw2020 says:

    +100. Although drogba was the one old timer i thought mls could use. I wouldnt advocate or imgine spending 16mil/yr on one player.

    I believe that garber and most team leadership also have the developmental goals in mind

  36. jay says:

    @steve The games are always pretty full. The league is certainly not lacking support. They also have A LOT of money to throw at these players, which has to be a big reason, if the THE biggest, guys like Anelka and Drogba see it as alluring. The quality of play, however, is just not there.

    Obviously the quality of life in China pales in comparison to the US, Europe, and the UAE, especially in some of the tier 2 or 3 cities (Places like Shanghai and Beijing are considered Tier 1). That said, your money goes a lot father in China and Shanghai is by far China’s most developed and international city. Wouldn’t be a bad place for a guy entering the end of his career to be making well over $100,000 a week.

    And its my pleasure to share. When I was over there SBI was instrumental in keeping me updated with all things soccer, especially MNT wise.