The Chinese Super League is an interesting space. Whilst some view it as a great retirement village once they have passed their prime, others go in the prime of their careers in order to ensure that they can have a financially well-off future. The following are three players who were loved at Stamford Bridge who opted to experience football in China.
For many years, Carvalho was regarded as being one of the best defenders in the world. He was on the books of Chelsea between 2004-2010 and helped the team to win three Premier League titles and two League Cups. Carvalho had great longevity as a player and even was part of the Portugal Euro 2016 winning team at the age of 38. Carvalho spent the final season of his professional career with Shanghai SIPG in China. He is currently the assistant manager of French Ligue 1 club Marseille, tipped by the Olybet Website as 33/1 outsiders to win the title this year.
John Obi Mikel
Though many will view him as being a squad rotation player, Obi Mikel was one of the longest-serving players for Chelsea in the Roman Abramovich era. He played for the Blues between 2006-17. During the Nigerian’s time at Stamford Bridge, he went on to make 349 appearances in all competitions, winning two Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup, the Champions League, and the Europa League. Obi Mikel can rightfully take his place as a Chelsea legend. After leaving Chelsea, he went on to play for Tianjin TEDA in China for one season. Since then, Obi Mikel has had spells with Middlesbrough and Trabzonspor in Turkey. He is currently without a club but at 33-years-old, could still have a move or two left in him.
Oscar shocked the world of football by signing for Shanghai SIPG at the age of 26 in 2017. Most footballers only remain in China for a year or two but the Brazilian has remained in the Far-East ever since. He sacrificed his international career for the riches of the Chinese Super League. Some will consider him to be a mercenary but from another perspective, he may be a genius as he may be securing the financial well-being of himself as well as his family for the long-term.
At 28-years-old, Oscar could have at least another four good years of football remaining in him. It remains to be seen if he will join another elite club in Europe.