Sergio Batista was finally unveiled as Shanghai Shenhua’s latest head coach this evening and immediately stated that Nicolas Anelka was central to his future plans.
Board member Zhou Jun had earlier introduced the former Argentinian head coach to around 50 foreign and Chinese press members as “A world famous coach who will definitely bring advanced footballing concepts,” adding that his experience with the Argentinian national team would help complement Shenhua’s traditional “Shanghainese style” football.
Batista said he was looking forward to his new role and added, “Judging from today’s training session, everyone in the squad is very positive. I am convinced that Shenhua’s results will quickly improve.”
Shenhua’s new head coach answered a number of questions, mostly asking about potential new players for his squad. He also said that “everyone is looking forward to Drogba coming to Shenhua,” but didn’t give any more details.
The Argentinian also revealed Shenhua approached him last year with a view to becoming manager, but that things didn’t work out. He reiterated several times during the conference that “money is not the reason I choose to come to Shenhua.”
The Chinese press also quizzed Batista about his impressions of Shanghai as a city, and inquired about his impromptu ride on the Shanghai subway on Sunday. He described Shanghai as “beautiful” and a “comfortable” place, but didn’t comment on his public transport adventure.
Batista now occupies the most roasting of hot seats. His appointment now means Shenhua have changed manager 15 times in ten seasons.
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015