Strong showing: Hulk 'pride' as he nears China exit

Shanghai (AFP) –


Hulk looks to have played his last game in the Chinese Super League after the Brazilian striker wrote a message of thanks to his club Shanghai SIPG and football in the country.

The 34-year-old former international signed from Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg in July 2016 for a reported 55.8 million euros and went on to score 75 goals in 142 matches for SIPG.

However, the physically imposing forward was reported as telling Brazilian media in July that he would not remain with the club when his contract finishes at the end of this year.

Writing on social media, Hulk said: "I want to express all my pride, affection, gratitude and respect for Chinese football.

"I arrived in China in 2016 and since then I have always been very well treated and respected by all."

Hulk, who has played 48 times for Brazil, scoring 11 goals, captained SIPG to their only CSL crown, in 2018, alongside former Chelsea star Oscar.

However, the former Porto player found himself on the bench at times in recent matches as the Shanghai club finished fourth in the league.

He started Wednesday's clash with Beijing Guoan but failed to score in a 1-1 draw, in what was his 100th CSL appearance and SIPG's final match of the league campaign.

SIPG will now compete in the Asian Champions League in Qatar, in what Hulk will hope is a triumphant finale to his spell.

"Thank you to everyone at the club," he wrote in his Weibo post before Wednesday's game, adding: "(And) to the fans who have always had affection and respect for me.

"And especially to the players, who have always had a very great union, relationship of affection, friendship and much respect."