Ivory Coast and Chelsea football legend Didier Drogba retires at 40
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Ivory Coast and Chelsea great Didier Drogba announced his retirement on Wednesday, calling time on a 20-year career in which the bullish centre forward won four Premier League titles and the 2012 Champions League.
Drogba, who had been playing in the United States for Phoenix Rising, had two spells at Chelsea, scoring 164 goals in 381 games having spearheaded the west London club’s revival under owner Roman Abramovich.
His last game was Phoenix’s 1-0 loss to Louisville City in the USL Cup final on November 8.
“I wanna thank all the players, managers, teams and fans that I have met and made this journey one of a kind,” the 40-year-old striker wrote in a statement on Twitter.
“If anyone tells you your dreams are too big, just say thank you and work harder and smarter to turn them into a reality.”
Drogba began his career at French side Le Mans in 1998, but did not play top-tier football until he was 23 when he was signed by Guingamp in 2002.
He moved to Olympique de Marseille in 2003 and a year later was signed by Chelsea where he became the attacking focal point of the team under Jose Mourinho and helped the club win their first top flight English title in 50 years.
He went on to win three Premier League titles in his first eight years at Chelsea as well as four FA Cups and two League Cups.
His first spell in west London ended on a high as he scored the winning penalty in the Champions League final shootout against Bayern Munich having also equalised with a thumping header to force extra time.
He made the move to North America in 2015, playing for Major League Soccer’s Montreal Impact for a season and a half.
Two-time African Player of the Year 🏆@ChampionsLeague winner 🏆FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) November 22, 2018
Led 🇨🇮@FIFCI_tweet to their first @FIFAWorldCup 🏆
Enjoy your retirement, @didierdrogba! And congratulations on a fantastic career 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/MYsMnnaffw
Drogba, who made more than 100 appearances for the Ivory Coast and was voted African footballer of the year twice, ended his playing days with Phoenix Rising where he was a player-owner. “It’s the best way to end, helping some young talent to develop,” Drogba told the BBC.
“To give something back to the game was the best way to finish as I have learned so much in the game.”
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)