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Chinese football Shenhua's Yu joins city rival in shock move

(Shanghai Daily)

14:33, December 21, 2012

(Shanghai Daily)

Shanghai Shenhua is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

After mounting speculation that both its international stars Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba were on their way out, inspirational captain Yu Tao dropped a bombshell by signing up with city rival Shanghai Shenxin for the next three years.

Yu joined Shenhua in 2002 and made 260 appearances for the club, which is a team record. The midfielder scored 16 goals and has been the club's captain since 2010.

Shenhua, which reportedly did not renew his contract, is demanding a hefty "penalty" of between 5 million yuan (US$802,515) to 10 million for an unspecified agreement with the club's best-known player.

Shenxin announced the signing of the 31-year-old midfielder yesterday on its official microblog on, which was later confirmed by Yu.

"I just finished the morning training session. I know what I have to face. I give my thanks to all the friends who called me and the fans who supported me in the last decade," Yu wrote on his own microblog.

"Please give me some time to come to terms with my emotions and I will explain the biggest decision to you all."

Shenhua also made its stance clear.

"We respect Yu's choice and wish him happiness in the new team. But the rest (dispute) will be handled according to the contract," the club said.

Shenhua's chief investor Zhu Jun seemed to accept the departure of his captain and indicated that a law suit was in the works against the fan's favorite player.

"According to the contract which is kept as record with the Chinese Football Association, Yu is a free agent, but we have a separate agreement with him.

"The association does not know the deal but it still has legal standing in civil courts," Zhu told

"According to the agreement, if Yu does not extend his contract, he has to pay the club a compensation between 5 to 10 million yuan."

Yu is the third first-team player to quit Shenhua after a disappointing season.

The club finished ninth in the 16-team Chinese Super League despite the presence of star names like Anelka and Drogba.

The club's 24-year-old winger Feng Renliang and 23-year-old defender Wu Xi joined Guangzhou Evergrande and Jiangsu Sainty, respectively, since the end of the woeful season.

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