Didier Drogba is looking forward to a new challenge with Shanghai Shenhua after signing a two-and-a-half year deal with the Chinese Super League outfit.

The 34-year-old was released by Chelsea at the end of the season after an eight-year career at Stamford Bridge, culminating in scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

Having rejected a one-year extension with The Blues, Drogba has opted to take on a new challenge with Shanghai Shenhua, joining up with another former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka in China.

Didier Drogba
Drogba is looking forward to a new challenge with Shanghai Shenhua.

"I have considered all the offers I have received in the past few weeks, but feel that Shanghai Shenhua FC is the right move for me at this time," said Drogba.

"I am looking forward to a new challenge, to experiencing a new culture, and excited about the new developments in the Chinese Super League.

"When Chelsea went to China last year, we had a great time and I met some amazing fans.

"I hope to help promote Chinese football around the world and further improve the links between China and Africa.'"

Shanghai Shenhua owner Zhu Jun said: "We have been wanting to sign Didier for a while, and are very happy that it has finally happened.

"He is an incredible player, who has won so many trophies in his career, we feel that his experience and ability will be a very valuable asset to our squad.

"Shanghai is one of the most influential cities in the world, and we are very excited to welcome Didier here."

Drogba scored 157 goals in 341 games for Chelsea during an eight-year career where he won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the European Cup in his final season.

The Ivory Coast international built a reputation for being one of the most dominating forwards in the Premier League era, and is considered among one of Chelsea's greatest ever strikers.

He joined the club from Marseille in 2004, having scored 32 goals in his one and only season for the Ligue 1 side while his work for the Didier Drogba Foundation as well as his 55 international goals for Ivory Coast, has earned him iconic status in his homeland.