Drogba to Gyan: Chinese Super League's biggest imports

Sport360 staff 00:41 28/07/2015
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From Marcello Lippi to Anelka, some of the CSL's great foreign additions.

As the Chinese Super League continues to build a sports industry in Asia, here's a look at some of the biggest names to play or coach in one of the world's burgeoning competitions.

NICOLAS ANELKA

Club: Shanghai Shenhua (2012-13)

Position: Striker

Anelka endured a poor time in China, scoring just three goals in 22 games. Was part of an awful Shenhua outfit, even joining struggling coach Jean Tigana’s staff. Departed permanently to West Bromwich Albion, via a loan to Juventus.

DARIO CONCA
Clubs: Guangzhou Evergrande (2011-13), Shanghai SIPG (2015-) 
Position: Playmaker 

Rose to significance in Asia, becoming world’s third highest- paid player. Departed for Fluminense as an AFC Champions League winner, soon moving back to Shanghai SIPG.

DIDIER DROGBA
Club: Shanghai Shenhua (2012-13)
Position: Striker

Proved a much-bigger success than Anelka when he followed his team-mate’s path from Chelsea to Shanghai. Scored eight in 11 appearances, yet left in anger for Turkey’s Galatasaray in January 2013 after claiming unpaid wages.

SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON
Clubs: Guangzhou R&F (2013-14), Shanghai SIPG (2014-)
Position: Head coach 

Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The former England boss is making a fine impression in China. Made his first stop at R&F in 2013, departing after finishing third in his only full season in charge. Currently, sits second in CSL table at big-spending SIPG.

ASAMOAH GYAN
Club: Shanghai SIPG (2015-)
Position: Striker

Departed Al Ain earlier this month as both a hero and the player with the biggest transfer fee in Asian history, 20 million (Dh81m) being paid. The Ghana skipper proved an instant success in the Chinese Super League, scoring winner on debut against Tianjin Teda.

SEYDOU KEITA 
Club: Dalian Aerbin (2012-13)
Position: Midfielder

Seydou Keita.

After winning nearly every club trophy possible at Barcelona, departed in 2012 for an enormous deal at Dalian. Was tasked with saving club from relegation, which he duly did. Left for Valencia in January 2014.

MARCELLO LIPPI
Club: Guangzhou Evergrande (2012-15)
Position: Head coach / Director of football 

Marcello Lippi.

World Cup winner proved class with 2013 AFC Champions League win. Also claimed three CSL titles in a row before moving upstairs to make way for Fabio Cannavaro in 2014.

MURIQUI
Club: Guangzhou Evergrande (2010-14)
Position: Forward 

The Brazilian is one of the least-well-known names on this list, but his arrival for a record $3.5m in 2010 heralded a new era. Scored 52 times in 92 CSL games, winning seven major trophies before departing for Qatar’s Al Sadd in 2014.

ROBINHO
Club: Guangzhou Evergrande (2015-)
Position: Forward 

The latest star to join the CSL, Robinho is expected to add ingenuity and Brazilian flair to the Southern China Tigers. Has inked a six-month contract worth 1m (Dh4m) per month, joining a number of his compatriots in Guangzhou. 

LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI 
Club: Guangzhou Evergrande (2015-)
Position: Head coach

Luis Felipe Scolari.

Big Phil’ was a ruthless appointment by Evergrande, replacing Cannavaro with the team top of the table and into the ACL quarter-finals. Has quickly put Brazilian mark on squad, snapping up forward Robinho and midfielder Paulinho.

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