Football

Tevez to earn $1.1m a week in China

Argentinian Tevez is world's highest-paid footballer after sealing move to Shanghai Shenhua

Carlos Tevez is officially the world's best-paid footballer.

The former Manchester United and Manchester City striker became the latest high-profile footballer to join the Chinese Super League after Shanghai Shenhua confirmed the signing of the Argentinian from his boyhood club Boca Juniors yesterday.

The acquisition of the 32-year-old striker will "greatly enhance" the team's frontline, Shenhua said on a verified social media account.

"The club looks forward to Tevez helping Greenland Shenhua attack cities and strike stockades in Asian and domestic matches and contribute to more exciting games for fans," it said, calling him "the most outstanding striker in Argentina's history".

Although no financial details were released, reports have suggested that the Chinese club paid £71.5 million (S$127m) for Tevez, who returned to Argentina last year after spells in England and Italy.

That hefty price tag would make Tevez the world's sixth-most expensive player - behind Paul Pogba, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Neymar.

BEST-PAID PLAYER

Tevez will also become the sport's highest-paid player with the striker reportedly earning around £615,000 per week on a two-year contract with Shenhua.

His annual salary would make him the world's best-paid footballer in terms of earnings from his club, catapulting him past the previous top three - Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, his teammate Gareth Bale and Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

In a statement, Boca thanked Tevez, who was in his second spell with the club - during which he scored 25 goals in 56 matches, including a double in a 4-2 Clasico victory over bitter rivals River Plate earlier this month.

Boca wished him good luck, saying he had left fans with "unforgettable memories" and telling him they would be "dreaming of your return".

"We'll work on bringing you back," they added.

"No effort is too great to have you wearing our shirt again."

After passing a medical, Tevez will join the rest of the Shenhua squad on the Japanese island of Okinawa, where they are holding pre-season training until late January.

The side are coached by former Uruguay international Gustavo Poyet, who was installed last month after the club parted ways with Spaniard Gregorio Manzano despite finishing fourth in the Chinese Super League.

Tevez is the latest international star, many of them South American, lured to Chinese football for eye-watering transfer fees and salaries.

Last week, crosstown rivals Shanghai SIPG, coached by former Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas, shelled out a reported £60 million for Chelsea's 25-year-old Brazilian midfielder Oscar.

FOOTBALLING POWERHOUSE

Before the Oscar deal, Chinese Super League clubs had already splashed out more than £326.4m on players this year, after President Xi Jinping laid out a vision of turning the country into a footballing powerhouse.

Chinese teams broke the Asian record three times in just 10 days in the January-February transfer window, and moved it still higher when Brazil's Hulk joined SIPG for £47.5m in July.

Significantly, Chinese clubs are now competing with European rivals for world-class players, who are opting for astronomical pay packets over the chance of a career in football's top leagues.

Fans welcomed the latest deal. "Shanghai's football has had its spring," said one poster on China's Twitter-like Weibo.

"Aren't you looking forward to next season's Shanghai Derby?" - WIRE SERVICES

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