Australia's Joel Griffiths admitted to feeling "like a star-struck" kid when he returned to training alongside Didier Drogba at Shanghai Shenhua this week.
It is Drogba's first week on the job at his new club after the much trumpeted switch from Chelsea for the UEFA Champions League winner.
Back in full time training after 10 weeks out with a knee injury, Griffiths lined up for a striker's only shooting session with the $300,000-a-week Cote d'Ivoire skipper and Shenhua's other resident superstar, Frenchman Nicolas Anelka.
"I trained with Drogba and Anelka in a shooting drills session on Tuesday and it was just a surreal experience," Griffiths told The World Game.
"I was looking around and thinking to myself 'what the hell is happening here!'
"They are both really good people, really down to earth and I just want to learn as much as I can from both of them."
Griffiths is convinced a Drogba-led revival can haul Shanghai, which lies 12th in the 16-team Chinese Super League, back up the ladder.
"Drogba is simply a beast," Griffiths said.
"He was the arguably the best striker in the world last season and I have to settle down and stop looking up at him like a kid does to an idol and try and just treat him like another footballer.
"You often find the people who play at his level don't have a huge ego, when you think maybe they would, or they should.
"He is calm and very humble and always willing to listen.
"He's already quizzed me a little on life here because I've been in China for a while now and once he gets in the team playing things are going to turn around pretty fast on the field for this club."
After so long out, 32-year-old Griffiths knows it will be hard for him to break back into the starting line-up for Sunday's league clash against Guangzhou R&F – a game in which Drogba may feature despite not having kicked a ball in anger since May.
Shanghai also faces Changchun Yatai in the FA Cup tonight.
"The new coach Sergio Batista really hasn't seen much of me since the injury," Griffiths said.
"Nicolas Anelka is keen for me to play alongside Drogba as a second striker, which would allow him to play a little deeper, but I feel the coach will want to use me either on the left or right wing to accommodate Didier and Nico.
"I can hardly complain about that because everybody knows what great players they are.
"It's obviously down to the coach to make that decision and I just have to ease back into things and see what happens.
"Realistically, using me off the bench will probably be the right option, considering how long I have been out."
According to Griffiths, Drogba belies his 34 years with the sheer power and movement, which still resonates from his game.
"He's moving freely and with great purpose and once he gets fully fit and gets in alongside Nico it's going to be very hard for any team to stop them," Griffiths declared.
"We won't win the championship this year but if this team stays together next year, then watch out."
For all the hype surrounding Drogba, Griffiths claims the clubs less hyped signing, Colombia international Giovanni Moreno, is "probably the best player" in China.
"He's our playmaker and is just an incredible talent," he said of the 25-year-old.
Griffiths also revealed that the trickle of 30-something stars to China could turn into a flood.
"Anelka has been saying that half the French team want to come here now," Griffiths said.
"And with the way things are financially in Europe right now this is becoming football's new frontier."
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