Thursday 27 July 2017

Obafemi Martins leaves Seattle Sounders to join Shanghai Shenhua

Obafemi Martins
Obafemi Martins

Former Inter Milan, Newcastle and Birmingham striker Obafemi Martins has become the latest high-profile player to plump for a move to the Chinese Super League.

The 31-year-old Nigerian has announced he is leaving the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer to join Shanghai Shenhua, the east-coast outfit who already boast Demba Ba and Fredy Guarin among their number.

Martins, a League Cup winner with Birmingham in 2011, thanked the Sounders via his official Twitter account before saying: "For me it's now time for a new challenge.

"After significant reflection, I have decided to join Shanghai Shenhua of the Chinese Super League.

"When I left Nigeria for Italy at the age of 15 with the hopes of a pro career, I put everything on the line. I was immersed in an unknown culture.

"It may be difficult to understand or relate to, but I've grown to appreciate the feeling I get when entering environments where I'm not a proven footballer.

"Seattle will always have a special place in my heart."

The Sounders later acknowledged Martins' comments in a statement on their official website.

Martins follows the likes of Colombia winger Jackson Martinez, Brazilian midfielders Ramires and Alex Teixeira, and Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic - formerly of West Ham - in moving to China.

Gervinho, Paulinho, Mohamed Sissoko, Gael Kakuta and Asamoah Gyan are other notable footballers who currently play in the 16-team Chinese Super League. The new season begins on March 4.

Press Association

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