Papiss Cisse thanks fans after leaving Newcastle for Shandong Luneng

Papiss Cisse
Papiss Cisse started six games, scoring once, after Rafael Benitez (left) took over as Newcastle manager in March

Papiss Cisse has said he "will never forget" Newcastle's fans after leaving the club to join Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng.

The striker said on Twitter:external-link "I will be back as a supporter alongside them one day. Every goal I scored in that famous number nine shirt was for them."

Cisse, 31, leaves for an undisclosed feeexternal-link following a four-and-a-half year spell at St James' Park.

A Senegal international, he scored 44 goals in 131 games for Newcastle.

Cisse, who joined the Magpies from German club Freiburg, scored three times during the 2015-16 season, which ended with Newcastle being relegated to the Championship despite a late upturn in form under Rafael Benitez.

He added: "I hope that the team are quickly back in the Premier League.

"We had some great times together and hopefully under Rafa those times will return."

It has also been reported that Southampton forward Graziano Pelle will sign for Shandong Luneng, who are coached by ex-Fulham manager Felix Magath.

Cisse is the latest of a string of high-profile names to move to China both on and off the pitch.

Brazil forward Hulk recently joined Shanghai SIPG in a £46.1m transfer that eclipsed the £38.4m Asian transfer record fee that Jiangsu Suning paid for compatriot Alex Teixeira last February.

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Demba Ba, formerly of Newcastle and Chelsea, moved to Shanghai Shenhua in July 2015, while Jackson Martinez left Atletico Madrid to join Guangzhou for a then-Asian record £31m in early February 2016.

Shanghai SIPG are managed by ex-England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, and former Netherlands midfielder and AC Milan manager Clarence Seedorf was named as head coach of second-tier side Shenzen FC earlier this week.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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