Argentine striker Carlos Tevez arrived Thursday to a rousing welcome from hundreds of fans in Shanghai, where he will join local side Shenhua in a deal that reportedly makes him the world’s top-earning footballer.
Tevez, 32, is the highest-profile foreign player lured to China’s free-spending domestic leagues in a recent gold rush that has triggered a backlash from Chinese authorities worried that clubs were recklessly overspending on foreign stars.
Police at Shanghai’s main international airport bundled the smiling Tevez through a crowd of blue-clad Shenhua fans who thronged the arrival hall, bursting into chants of “Carlos! Carlos!” when he emerged. He was whisked away without making any comment.
Tevez’s arrival from Argentine club Boca Juniors comes two weeks after that of Brazilian star Oscar, who joined cross-town Shanghai rivals SIPG under a 60-million-euro ($63 million, Sh6.3 billion) deal from Chelsea that smashed the Asian transfer fee record.
Tevez, a goal-scoring dynamo throughout his career for such heavyweights as Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus, came on a relatively paltry transfer fee of 10.5 million euros, according to deal-tracking website transfermarkt.com.
But Argentine media said he will make around 38 million euros per year under his two-year Chinese contract, out-earning even megastars like compatriot Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.