Chelsea great and Ivory coast Footballer announced his retirement from football on Wednesday after an illustrious 20 year career.
The 40-year-old scored 164 goals in 381 appearances for Chelsea, winning four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the 2012 Champions League, while he is also Ivory Coast’s all-time record goalscorer with 65.
He spent the last 18 months of his career with US side Phoenix Rising, the club he co-owns. “I wanna thank all the players, managers, teams and fans that I have met and made this journey one of a kind,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter.
— Didier Drogba (@didierdrogba) November 21, 2018
Didier Drogba sent an inspirational message on twitter urging youngsters to dream big and never give up on them.
“If anyone tells you your dreams are too big, just say thank you and work harder and smarter to turn them into reality#alwaysbelieve”.
If Didier Drogba had not succeeded in professional football, he would likely have gone onto become an accountant.
What a loss it would have been for the game, but it was a very real prospect as he was studying the subject as a 20-year-old while a reserve for Le Mans, yet to make his professional debut. Injuries had threatened to hurt his career before it had started, and he would be 21 before he had even made his first professional appearance.
Over the course of his career, he has enjoyed dizzying highs, notably as Chelsea’s hero in the 2012 Champions League. Two minutes from time – six after Thomas Muller’s header seemed to have won the trophy for Bayern Munich on their home turf – he converted Juan Mata’s corner to push final to extra-time and ultimately penalties. Of course, he struck the decisive blow in the shootout.
The manner in which he attacked Mata’s corner was emblematic of his power, his sliding celebration, pumping his arms to his side iconic, and the sense of timing perfect. It was a moment to encapsulate a career.
Remarkable as it may seem after he forged a career bullying defenders with his incredible strength, it was a lack of physicality that most threatened to derail his career in his younger days.
“He wasn’t built, he was flabby. He was lucky to be at Le Mans – another club might have been less patient with him,” coach Marc Westerloppe told Onze .
It was the birth of his first son Isaac, when he was 21, that, in Drogba’s words “straightened him out” and acted as “a turning point in his life”.
In the summer of 2004 when he made his fateful move to chelsea his legend was finally forged, culminating in that spectacular Champions League winner.
Those eight years at Stamford Bridge saw him claim three Premier League titles (plus another when he returned for a brief cameo in 2014-15), four FA Cups and three League Cups. He set numerous club scoring records, including the most by a non-Englishman (164), the most in the Champions League (36) and the most in cup finals (nine), won the Premier League Golden Boot twice and showed his all-round game by leading the league in assists during the 2005-06 season.