Drogba stuns football planet with retirement

Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba

Football fans were left in shock after former Chelsea and Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba confirmed his retirement as a player.

A late bloomer, Drogba began his career aged 18 at Ligue 2 side Le Mans. He then enjoyed a rapid rise to stardom, with his next step at Guingamp then Marseille and then Chelsea where he notched 164 goals in 381 appearances over two spells.

Those goals were crucial and he helped the Blues win the Premier League four times and the Champions League in 2012, as well as four FA Cup triumphs and three League Cup victories.

Drogba last played in the United States with Phoenix Rising, the second-tier club at which he is a co-owner.

He said: “When I think of the last 20 years of my professional career, looking at this picture cant [sic] make me more proud of what I’ve achieved as a player but most importantly how this journey has shaped me as a man.

“If anyone tells you your dreams are too big, just say thank you and work harder and smarter to turn them into reality. #alwaysbelieve

“I wanna thank all the players, managers, teams and fans that I have met and made this journey one of a kind!!!

“Also a huuuuge thank you and love to my family, my personal team for supporting me all my career during the ups and downs no matter what. Looking forward to the next chapter and hoping God will bless me as much as he did for my football career.”

When the 40-year-old left Chelsea, he joined the Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer of 2012 but six months after he moved to Galatasaray in Turkey before returning to Stamford Bridge in July 2014.

A move to Major League Soccer franchise Montreal Impact followed and the Ivory Coast forward stayed in the US when taking up an opportunity in Phoenix.

Drogba holds the record as Chelsea’s highest-scoring foreigner and fourth in the all-time list.

For the Elephants, he scored 63 goals in 104 games.