Didier Drogba returns to Shanghai Shenhua as teammates end strike

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 October, 2012, 2:21am


Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba was yesterday set to return from international duty into a row at his Shanghai Shenhua squad that has seen teammates reportedly refuse to practise over unpaid wages.

Shenhua players were said to have protested on Monday over the pay dispute, turning up late for practice at the club's training ground and taking a leisurely stroll around a running track.

Media reports have said payments to some players were skipped. However, the team will play their next game against Changchun Yatai tomorrow as scheduled, club and league officials said yesterday, in comments suggesting that the dispute had been laid to rest.

Training had returned to normal after the one-day protest, a club official said.

Drogba returns after scoring twice in Ivory Coast's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Senegal last Saturday, in a match that had to be abandoned in the second half because of rioting fans.

Chinese media have reported that Shenhua's chief investor Zhu Jun has threatened to withhold salaries of players unless he is granted majority control of the club. It was not clear whether the threat was the reason behind the reported unpaid wages.

In a posting on his microblog on Wednesday, the flamboyant online gaming tycoon said he "solemnly respected and understood" the action by the players on Monday.