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Page last updated at 14:39 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 15:39 UK

Midfielder Zheng leaves Charlton

Zheng Zhi
Zheng's last game for Charlton was their final-day win over Norwich

Midfielder Zheng Zhi has left Charlton after turning down the offer of a new contract at the Valley.

The 28-year-old China captain's deal expired at the end of June and he does not want to drop down into League One.

Addicks boss Phil Parkinson told the club's website: "Zizi's advisors have made clear that he's not keen on playing in the third flight.

"He wants to play at the highest possible level and it's clear they are pursuing other options."

Charlton were keen to hold talks with the player as they attempt to bounce straight back to the Championship after suffering relegation to League One at the end of last season.

Zheng became the first Chinese player to represent the Addicks when he played 12 games on loan for the club in the Premier League in 2006/07.

Charlton were then able to convince the two-time China player of the year to return to sign a permanent deal despite the club's relegation from the top flight, with the club paying Shandong Luneng an initial £1.25m for his services.

He scored nine goals in Charlton's first campaign in the Championship and finished as runner-up to Matt Holland in the player of the year poll.

Zheng returned from representing his country at the 2008 Olympic Games with a groin problem. He made a successful first-team comeback against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park only to suffer a foot injury in training a few days later.

By the time he returned to action in the 3-2 defeat by Watford at The Valley in March, Charlton's relegation to League One was all but confirmed. Zheng played 70 times for Charlton, scoring 11 goals.

The midfielder becomes the ninth senior player to depart The Valley this summer. Mark Hudson joined Cardiff City last Thursday, while Harry Arter, Josh Wright, Darren Ambrose, Svetoslav Todorov, Nicky Weaver, Aswad Thomas and Rashid Yussuff were all released following the expiry of their contracts.

Ambrose has since joined local rivals Crystal Palace, while Wright signed for Scunthorpe United on Monday.



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