The team’s unconvincing form was also cause for tension, with Drogba smashing furniture in the dressing room, according to reports, after a draw with local rivals Shanghai Shenxin in September.
Drogba, who spoke of raising the league’s profile and even improving ties between China and Africa when he arrived in Shanghai, seems to have taken it in his stride — and is a huge hit with fans.
“Drogba is massive, he motivates the players, he reactivated Anelka and terrified the opponents. He’s the king, no doubt,” Shenhua fan Bobby Lu said.
After scoring in the final game of the season, a 3-0 win over Qing-dao Jonoon, he signed off with a promise to return next year.
“Wait for me, I’ll be back,” Drogba told the Oriental Sports Daily, as he left Hongkou Football Stadium on Saturday last week.