Kallon spurns Uzbek offer to play in China

BEIJING - Former Inter Milan and Sierra Leone striker Mohamed Kallon turned down an offer of $2 million a year to join Brazil's Rivaldo at wealthy Uzbek club Bunyodkor before signing for China's Shaanxi.

The 30-year-old forward, who also had spells at Monaco and Greek club AEK Athens, agreed a one-year deal with Shaanxi last week, making him the highest-profile foreign signing for a Chinese Super League (CSL) club for the upcoming season.

"I received a phone call from Bunyodkor immediately after I touched down at the Shanghai Pudong Airport. They offered me two million dollars annually," Kallon told the Asian Football Confederation's website.

"But... money is the least of my concerns when it comes to my transfer. I have committed myself to Shaanxi and Chinese football and I am not someone who likes to break his promise.

"I am rich enough to live comfortably anywhere," he added. "I have long wanted to come to most populous country in the world to play football. I want to start afresh here and bring back what I learn in China back to my home country.

Xian-based Shaanxi finished 12th in the CSL last season but have signed a string of top Chinese players for the new campaign, including former Manchester City and Sheffield United defender Sun Jihai.

The new CSL season is scheduled to start on March 27, delayed for a week because of the chaos caused by the investigation into matchfixing in Chinese professional football.

Tashkent-based Bunyodkor's wealth has enabled them to rise rapidly to the top echelons of Asian soccer, attracting former Barcelona and Brazil striker Rivaldo and World Cup-winning Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Kallon said there was another reason why he had decided to spurn their offer.

"Even if I want to, my wife won't allow me to," he said. "I don't want to upset her. She loves China a lot..."

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