Didier Drogba says he hopes to emulate David Beckham’s impact on US football in Asia when he joins up with his new team-mates at Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
Drogba ended an eight year spell with Chelsea earlier this summer having helped the club secure their first ever Champions League against Bayern Munich in May.
It was the Ivorian’s spot-kick that proved decisive after 120 minutes of action had ended with the score at 1-1, and that proved to be his last kick for the Blues as he confirmed his plans to leave Stamford Bridge before announcing a deal with Shanghai.
Beckham secured a move to LA Galaxy in 2007 from Real Madrid and has been accredited with rejuvenating interest in football across the Atlantic, and Drogba says he hopes to have the same affect in China.
“Maybe it's a bit ambitious as a reference point to take David Beckham but people were saying when he went to America that it's not a good move,” he told reporters.
"And what he has done for the MLS - the publicity - it has no price. So that's why I am going there as well. I want to do something good for Chinese football. I want to help them to grow and develop.”
Drogba admitted over the weekend that while the Chinese Super League offered a lower standard of football than the MLS, he believes he has made the right decision to head east.
“It was a professional decision based on what I've done for the last eight years with Chelsea and what I did in Europe, winning the Champions League,” he commented.
“I think it was the right time to go to a different continent because as I've said before I love to travel.”