Didier Drogba Tribute, The Chelsea and Cote D'Ivoire Legend
I'm not a Chelsea fan, but I was saddened to learn of Didier Drogba's retirement.
As a Chelsea player, he experienced first-hand many of the club's prime achievements.
He joined the club in 2004, as one of the Mourinho's first signings at the club. He had impressed at Marseille, especially in their run to the final of the UEFA Cup in 03/04 season. He became known to English fans with his strong performances vs. Newcastle United in the semi-final, and soon attracted the attention of leading European sides.
Chelsea was his chance to prove himself at a big club, and in a top league under a rising star manager. He certainly did so - and how. Drogba helped them win Premier Leagues, FA Cups, League Cups, and arguably most notably the Champions League in 2012. He grabbed the winning penalty in the final vs. Bayern Munich and secured his place in Chelsea and footballing folklore.
And also, as a player from and representing Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa, he stands as one of the greatest African players of all-time. He stands as the country's record goalscorer, with 65 goals in 102 games for his country. Drogba also helped his country avert civil war, via a plea with his national teammates on live television.
His main attributes were his pace, strength, finishing abilities, and big game presence, which was exemplified at Chelsea. At the West London club, his goals were elemental in FA Cup, League cup, League title, and Champions League successes, and he netted goals in numerous finals in this regard.
He also won Premier League Golden Boots and was a mainstay in the Chelsea side - along with Lampard, Terry and Cech - which secured major success from 2004 to 2012.
This piece is a tribute to one of the finest strikers from Africa, and also to a player who defined an era at Chelsea. Drogba not only stands up amongst the Premier League striking greats, such as Henry, Shearer, Owen, Wright, Fowler, Aguero, van Nistelrooy, Cole, and Kane. He is one of the African shining lights, being an heir to Abedi Pele, George Weah, Samuel Eto'o, and Emmanuel Adebayor.
Even as a non-Chelsea fan, thanks for the memories, Mr. Drogba.