Didier Drogba was given a heroes welcome by around 750 ecstatic Shanghai Shenhua supporters as he stepped out of the arrival hall at Pudong airport this morning.
was, as ever, in the thick of it and at the scene to witness the amazing spectacle as Drogba emerged at around 8.10am to be greeted by a sea of Shenhua fans chanting his name.
The former Chelsea star wore a beaming smile and greeted his new admirers. He looked almost overwhelmed at one point, as a large police presence struggled to hold back the wildly excited fans.
Shenhua supporters had been waiting for up to an hour and a half, virtually taking over the line 2 metro out to Pudong Airport, which takes around an hour to reach from the centre of Shanghai. They carried Ivory Coast Flags, Shenhua banners and custom made “Welcome to Shanghai” banners for the new king of Hongkou.
“Didier Drogba, la-la-la-la-la” and “Shenhua are champions” were some of the chants sung by the fans, who broke into a chorus of “Guoan SB” on several occasions to insult their old rivals who they play tonight in the China Derby.
Drogba will appear before Shenhua fans on the pitch during tonight’s China’ Derby, but won’t play until next Wednesday away to Changchun in the CFA cup.
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