It seems that Obafemi Martins would rather see green in his wallet than on his jersey.

The Chinese Super League is luring in players with cash like Abercrombie lures in hormonal preteens with excessive fragrance.

Analysts are in a frenzy discussing how the aspirations and deep pockets of the Chinese Super League is going to impact Major League Soccer. Will it impede their ability to retain young talent or seduce aging stars?

This new phenomenon isn’t unique to the MLS. It’s effecting Premier League and La Liga:

  • $47.2 Million Jackson Martinez leaves Atletico Madrid for Guangzhou Evergrande
  • $56 Million Alex Texeira leaves Shakhtar Donetsk for Jiangsu Suning. (Liverpool’s offer was $16M short).
  • $36 Million Ramires leaves Chelsea to go to Shanghai Shenhua.

I would be lying if I said I was not a little concerned about China strolling right in under Trump’s nose and snatching up a top striker who scored 43 goals in 84 appearances with the Sounders.

Honestly, I built this whole post around my opening line, but because I am so open minded, I decided to search  for another motivation behind  Martins’ decision. Maybe he’s just a travel bug. Can’t pin down this “Footy Bourdain”. Bilbo Martins loves going on adventures. Did anyone realize he’s 5’7?

It turns out Obafemi is a serial club hopper and Shanghai Shenhua will be the 9th different team and the 7th country he has played in during his 16 years as a professional (not including his time in Nigeria). Let’s check out his passport:

  • 2000-2006 Italy’s Serie A at Reggiana and Inter – Arriverderci! 
  • 2006-2009 England’s Premier League at Newcastle – Cheerio!
  • 2009-2010 Germany’s Bundesliga at VfL Wolfsburg – Auf Wiedersehen!
  • 2010-2012  Russia’s Premiere League (FC Rubin  Kazan) – Do Svidaniya!
  • 2011 back to England on loan to Birmingham City – Bollocks! 
  • 2012 Spain’s La Liga at Levante – Adios!
  • 2013-2015 United States’ Major League Soccer at Seattle Sounders – Peace out player! 

I can’t fathom why anyone would choose to hang their hat in China. But I am a bit of a globe trotter myself. My passport is inked up like a Beckham deltoid. So, I am going to help out my Nigerian friend with some travel tips for his time in Shanghai.

  1. Visit Tiananmen Square – the site where a totalitarian Chinese Government sent soldiers to shoot hundreds of pro-democracy civilians in 1989. Side Note: at the same time Seattle was developing grunge rock. America, you just got served!
  2. Wuijang Road and Huanghe Road for Street Food – Wuinjang road has some Japanese and Korean influences where Huanghe Road is more popular for traditional fair, especially dumplings!
  3. Is poetry your fancy?  Don’t miss the works of Wang Zang, he was arrested in October 2014 for possession of an umbrella.
  4. Keep a roll of toilet paper in your Adidas bag – Chinese public bathrooms do not often supply toilet paper.
  5. Wear Face Masks – Chinese air sucks. According to a study by U.S. non- profit Berkeley Earth, breathing for a day in China is the equivalent of smoking 40 cigarettes. Hey have fun with it though! Jazz up those face masks with stickers or add a personal messages with a sharpie.
  6. Be cautious of helpful young students – These kids will take interest in you and want to learn more about your language. After they charm you and offer to take pictures they will lure you into an expensive tea room or other establishment and rack up a hefty bill and stick you with it.  Side note: Amateur hour! Remember the guy who was charging Chinese tourists $200 for cruises on the Staten Island Ferry
  7. Feel free to speak openly about whatever your heart desires – Freedom of expression is fully embraced by the Chinese Government. Explore the space.


Best of luck Obafemi Martins. Or as they say in China…Zai Jian!