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New Shanghai Shenhua signing Drogba says MLS is still better than the CSL and reflects on beating Barcelona

New Shanghai Shenhua signing Drogba says MLS is still better than the CSL and reflects on beating Barcelona

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The Ivorian explains he was drawn to playing in China by the "challenge" and reveals the plans Roberto Di Matteo put in place to defeat the Catalans in the Champions League

Despite choosing China's Super League over USA's Major League Soccer, Didier Drogba still believes that the North American competition is ahead in terms of quality and development.

The 34-year-old ex-Chelsea striker reflected on his decision to join Shanghai Shenhua during a press conference to promote the World Soccer Masters game on Saturday.

"No, I don't think China is ahead of MLS," Drogba explained. "I think [my decision] was a personal choice.

"I've played many games here with Chelsea over the years and I've seen the evolution [of American soccer]. When we came here in 2004, the stadiums were busy but not really. In 2010 it was amazing. The footballing has improved a lot in America.

"So it wasn't about the [quality], it was a personal choice and my decision."

Pointing to the reasons behind his bold move, Drogba said he was excited by the challenge of a unfamiliar country.

"I am a man of challenges. When the opportunity came up, having played already in France and England, it was interesting for me," the Ivorian said.

"To go and try to build something new in a different league and a different continent. To get more people involved in the sport over there in [China]. I love to travel and for me, it's a good experience."

Well-known for his humanitarian efforts all over Africa, Drogba also revealed that he hoped to improve the social relations between China and Africa.

"I want to help build a relationship between China and Africa. I think that's very important for the future," Drogba said.

Sitting two seats away from Barcelona's Javier Mascherano, Drogba spoke about Chelsea's shocking upset over the Catalan side in the Champions League semi-final on the way to winning the competition.

"When we were about to play against [Barcelona], we watched a lot of video," Drogba said.

"We knew we were playing the best team in the world. So for us playing this game, especially when we came from Napoli and we should have been out a long time ago, we were lucky to be there but we played hard as well."

According to Drogba, manager Roberto Di Matteo forced Chelsea's players to focus on the tendencies of every player aside from Lionel Messi. With the Argentine forward an obvious threat, the interim boss, since hired full time, wanted his players to focus on other ways to frustrate the Catalans.

"So when we watched the video, the manager wasn't showing Messi. At the end, you could see the important players," he said.

"The ones who scored and created assists, the most consistent guys. With Messi, he just said that he had 61 goals. We all started laughing. We knew we were in for a difficult night but we did our best."

It worked, as the 34-year-old went on to score the equaliser and decisive penalty in the final win over Bayern Munich.