SHANGHAI (AFP) –
Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba started for Shanghai Shenhua on Saturday, putting behind him weeks of speculation that he might be on his way out of China because of a boardroom row.
The futures of Drogba and team-mate Nicolas Anelka were put in doubt last month when a Shanghai newspaper claimed that eccentric owner Zhu Jun, who pays the huge wages of the star pair, had threatened to withdraw funding.
The report said that Zhu was upset that he was not given a majority stake as previously agreed when he took over the club in 2007.
The Chinese club remained tight-lipped, with Drogba heading back to England during the recent international break, as speculation mounted that his Chinese adventure might be over after just a handful of games.
But the 34-year-old — reportedly on one of the biggest salaries in world football — took to the pitch on Saturday for the ongoing clash with Liaoning FC.
Shanghai coach Sergio Batista said at a pre-match press conference Friday that the boardroom dispute had been resolved and Anelka and Drogba would play if fit.