Didier Drogba Would ‘Love’ to Play in America, Hopes for Chelsea Return in January

Didier Drogba is coming to America, but not just yet.

The Ivorian soccer star hopes to play in the United States after his contract with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua expires, according to Supersport.

“This is not my last contract,” Supersport reports Drogba told France Football. “If I’m able to achieve my objectives at the end of my contract with Shanghai Shenhua in 2014, I’d love to attempt another adventure, maybe in the United States.

“I had some proposals last summer but they all looked like what I had in England. I wanted to move far way to another culture. I’ll be 37 then and I think I can still play because I’m always a young man in front of the ball,” he said.

Drogba joined Shanghai Shenhua in July after leading Chelsea to glory in the UEFA Champions League. He rejected offers from around the world , including one that would have made him the highest-paid player in the history of Major League Soccer. He signed a lucrative, two-and-a-half-year contract with Shanghai Shenhua, saying he wanted to strengthen links between China and Africa with his presence.

The Ivorian striker made an impact in an abbreviated first season in Chinese soccer. He scored eight goals in 11 Chinese Super League (CSL) games, earning the nickname “Devil Beast” from the adoring fans.

But Shanghai Shenhua spent much of 2012 in disarray. Former manager Jean Tigana was fired after players complained about his methods, and a boardroom dispute led to rumors that players would not be paid on time (if at all). Shanghai finished ninth in the 16-team CSL, missing out on the finals and next season’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.

Drogba refuted rumors that he hand’t been paid or was thinking of leaving the club in the near future. In fact he intends to continue playing for club and country — Ivory Coast — for two more years. He wants to return to Chelsea for offseason training ahead of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Setanta reports.

“At first I have to ask for authorization from my club and then from Chelsea. And if everyone agrees it is possible I could go and train there ahead of the next Africa Cup of Nations,” he reportedly told France Football.

The 34-year-old will end his international career after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Cup.

“This Africa Cup of Nations edition will be no doubt my last edition,” he said. “At a time in life, you have to step aside, and I can confirm that after the 2014 FIFA World Cup, if we qualify, it would certainly be the time for me to say goodbye to international football.”

Drogba’s international swan-song will close an important chapter in his career, but it won’t be the final part of his story. His next move should take him to MLS, where he might create a new legion of fans and continue making Rihanna and other A-list celebrities giddy with delight when he walks into the (night)club.

Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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