As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. This November, the Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba decided to finally hang up his spikes after an illustrious two-decade career. Drogba confirmed his retirement to BBC, describing his career as “an amazing 20 years.”
“After 20 years, I have decided to put an end to my playing career,” announced Drogba, who had spent the past year in the U.S. playing as player-owner for the United Soccer League club Phoenix Rising. He also played a couple of seasons for the Major League Soccer club Montreal Impact, which he led to the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals.
Drogba, though, will forever be known for his stints at the Premier League, which is described by Freebets as “one of the best domestic football divisions” on the planet. The Premier League has long had a massive global audience, and Drogba fit right in. He was arguably one of the league’s best players, and he made quite a name for himself playing for Chelsea. Drogba signed with The Blues in 2004 as a highly regarded 26-year-old striker, and he did not disappoint one bit. He scored his first goal for Chelsea just three games in, and it was a portent of things to come for the bullish import from the Ivory Coast.
The Blues eventually won the Premier League title in 2004, with Drogba emerging as one of their best players. He led Chelsea to their second consecutive Premier League title as he established himself as one of football’s most feared striker — aggressive, powerful, and relentless. He also built a reputation as a big game player, routinely making important plays in crucial stretches of critical matches. Drogba concluded his illustrious eight-year stint at Stamford Bridge with three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, and two League Cups. He also copped two Premier League Golden Boot Awards, one in the 2006–2007 season and another in the 2009–2010 season.
Drogba left Chelsea in 2012, signing instead with the Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League. He signed with Süper Lig team Galatasaray a year later, before making his way back to his old stomping grounds at Stamford Bridge for a second stint with The Blues. Reporting about Drogba’s return to Chelsea, The Independent noted how the Ivorian couldn’t pass on the chance of playing for Jose Mourinho — the man who first signed Drogba to Chelsea back in 2004. And the high-scoring striker rewarded Mourinho’s trust once more, helping The Blues win a fourth Premier League title and a third League Cup. Drogba played 381 games in total for Chelsea, scoring 164 goals and finishing as the club’s 4th leading scorer all time.
The long-time captain of the Ivory Coast national team, who is now 40, was also a force internationally, leading his country with 65 goals in 104 appearances, including matches in the 2006, 2010, and 2014 World Cups.
Drogba’s retirement is the end of an era, and it was a memorable one to say the least.