East Asia China

Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery considered ‘too old to play’ in China

Shanghai SIPG technical director Mads Davidsen claimed that Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are too old to play in the Chinese Super League.

Ribery, 34, and Robben, 33, are recognised as two of World’s top players since the last decade, but Davidsen believes the Chinese clubs will not have interest to sign the Bayern Munich duo at their current ages.

The Shanghai director suggests that CSL outfits with their massive financial backings could easily attract younger names to come to the East Asia country.

“It’s a misconception that makes me really angry when players in Europe believe they can freely choose the time to move to China. This was the situation three or four years ago but those times are over,” Davidsen told Sport Bild.

“If Ribery had an offer two or three years ago from China then that was his chance but an ambitious Chinese team like Shanghai SIPG wouldn’t sign him or Robben now.

“Why should a Chinese club sign a 33- or 34-year-old when they can get 27-year-old stars like Axel Witsel or Alex Teixeira — or Oscar at 25?

“Ribery and Robben have missed the chance if they had wanted to play in China. We no longer want these players.”

The likes of Carlos Tevez, Oscar, Hulk, Alexandre Pato, Ramires and Axel Witsel are among the star players who were lured to CSL at their peak performances in big-money deal.