Didier Drogba

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Didier Drogba
Drogba & Trophy 19.05.12.jpg
0Full Name Didier Yves Drogba Tébily
0Date of Birth 11 March 1978
0Place of Birth Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
0Position Striker
0Chelsea career 2004–2012
0Debut 15 August 2004
0Games (goals) 381 (164)
0Other clubs Le Mans
Olympique Marseille
Shanghai Shenhua

Didier Yves Drogba Tébily (born 11 March 1978 in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire) is an Ivorian international striker who played for Chelsea initially from 2004–2012. He later re-joined the club for the 2014-15 season. He played a leading role in Chelsea's success during his time at Chelsea, culminating in scoring a crucial equaliser and striking the winning penalty in a shoot-out to secure Chelsea's first UEFA Champions League victory. He has scored more goals for Chelsea than any other foreign player and is Chelsea's fourth highest goal scorer of all time. He scored in four separate FA Cup finals, in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 – a record – in addition to scoring four goals in League Cup finals. Drogba was Chelsea top scorer twice, including in the double-winning 2009-10 season, with his haul of 37 goals the most in a single top flight season for Chelsea since Jimmy Greaves scored 43 in the 1960-61 season. The total included 29 league goals, winning Drogba the Golden Boot, and he was voted Player of the Year by the fans in the same season. Drogba has also been named African Player of the Year on two occasions, and his involvement in the peace process in his native Ivory Coast led to Drogba being named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2010. [1] He re-joined the club for the 2014-15 season, contributing to Premier League and League Cup wins.


Before Chelsea

Drogba was born in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, and at the age of five was sent to France by his parents to live with his uncle, Michel Goba, a professional footballer. However, Drogba soon became homesick and returned to Abidjan after three years, before later returning to France [2]. Drogba began his career as a junior player at the semi-professional club Levallois, gaining a reputation as a prolific scorer in the youth team and impressing the coach with his professional attitude. His performances earned him a place in the senior squad but despite scoring in his debut, the 18-year-old Ivorian failed to make an impression on Jacques Loncar, the first team coach [3].

Le Mans

In 1997 Drogba joined Ligue 2 club Le Mans as an apprentice. However, his first two years there were marred by injuries and he was physically struggling to cope with the training and match schedule. Former Le Mans coach Marc Westerloppe later remarked that "it took Didier four years to be capable of training every day and playing every week". Furthermore, Drogba's complicated family life meant that he had never attended a football academy and only began daily football training as a fully grown adult.

By age 21, Drogba realized that he had to establish himself as a player soon or else he would have little chance of becoming a professional footballer. He made his first team debut for Le Mans soon thereafter and signed his first professional contract in 1999. He scored seven goals in thirty games in his first season, but during the following season he did not live up to expectations. Drogba lost his place to Daniel Cousin due to injury, then upon his return he failed to score throughout the remainder of the season. However, he returned to form the following season, making 21 appearances and scoring five times.


Halfway through the 2001-02 season Ligue 1 club Guingamp consolidated months of interest with a transfer offer and Drogba left Le Mans for a fee of £80,000. The second half of the 2001-02 season saw Drogba make eleven appearances and score three goals for Guingamp. While his contributions helped the club avoid relegation, the coaching staff remained unconvinced of their new young striker. However, the next season he rewarded his coaches' patience, scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances and helping Guingamp finish seventh, a record league finish. He credited his teammates for his impressive season, highlighting the contributions of winger Florent Malouda, a long time friend of Drogba, as a key factor in his prolific goalscoring that season. His strong goal scoring record attracted interest from larger clubs and at the end of the season he moved to Ligue 1 outfit Marseille for a fee of £3.3 million [4].

Olympique de Marseille

Olympique de Marseille manager Alain Perrin signed Drogba from Guingamp, though he was soon replaced by José Anigo. Drogba retained his place in the team, scoring 19 goals and winning the Ligue de Football Professionnel's Player of the Year. He also scored five goals in that season's UEFA Champions League and six in the UEFA Cup. At the end of the season he was bought by Chelsea as the club's then record signing for £24 million.

Chelsea career (2004–2012)


Signing for Chelsea in July 2004 for £24 million, Drogba scored in his third game for the club with a header against Crystal Palace. His season was interrupted when he pulled a stomach muscle against Liverpool which kept him out of action for over two months. Chelsea won the Premiership, only their second English top-flight championship and their first in 50 years, and the League Cup, with Drogba scoring in extra time in a 3-2 final win against Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League. Drogba scored 16 goals in 40 games for Chelsea in his first season: 10 in the Premiership, five in the Champions League and one in the League Cup final.


Drogba started the 2005-06 season by scoring two goals in a Community Shield win over Arsenal. Chelsea went on to retain the league title with two games to play, becoming only the second team to win back-to-back English titles in the Premier League era. Again Drogba finished with 16 goals for the season, 12 in the league, two in the Community Shield, one in the Champions League and one in the FA Cup.


After the departure of Damien Duff to Newcastle United, Drogba switched from the number 15 shirt he had worn for Chelsea since 2004 to the number 11 shirt vacated by Duff. The season was a personal success for Drogba as he hit 33 goals in all competitions (more than his tally in the previous two seasons combined), including 20 in the Premier League to win the Golden Boot. In doing so, he became the first Chelsea player since Kerry Dixon in 1984-85 to reach 30 goals in a season.

Among the highlights were scoring winners from outside the penalty area against Liverpool, Everton and Barcelona, a 93rd minute equaliser against Barcelona at the Camp Nou and both Chelsea's goals in their 2-1 League Cup Final win over Arsenal. He also completed two hat-tricks; one against Watford and the other against Levski Sofia in the Champions League, Chelsea's first hat-trick in European competition since Gianluca Vialli in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1997. In his last competitive game that season, he scored the winning goal over Manchester United in the first FA Cup Final at the new Wembley Stadium. This also meant that he joined Norman Whiteside (Manchester United in 1983) and Mark Hughes (Manchester United in 1994) as players who have scored goals in both English domestic finals in the same year, although Drogba was the first player to end up on the winning team after scoring in both finals.

In January 2007, Drogba was crowned the Ivorian Player of the Year, ahead of Kader Keita, Aruna Dindane, and Kolo Touré. In March, he was named African Footballer of the Year for the first time, ahead of Samuel Eto'o and Chelsea teammate Michael Essien.[5] His performances during the season saw him named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and runner-up to Cristiano Ronaldo in the PFA Player of the Year awards.[6]


Following the departure of José Mourinho early in the season, Drogba spoke openly in interviews about wanting to leave Chelsea [7]. He later admitted he regretted this and was 100% committed to Chelsea [8]. He soon regained the trust of the board and fans, scoring in Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough on 20 October 2007, against Schalke 04 in the Champions League four days later, and twice against Manchester City.

Drogba continued to find the net but suffered an injury at the training ground and decided to have an operation on his knee. He was unable to play for four weeks and missed key games against Valencia, Arsenal and Liverpool. Drogba returned from injury to play in an FA Cup third round match against Queens Park Rangers and wore the captain's armband for the last 30 minutes in which he was on the pitch, but left for the African Nations Cup soon afterwards. Upon his return Drogba scored a goal in the 2008 League Cup Final which made him the all-time leading scorer in League Cup Finals with four. He also became the first player to score in three League Cup finals and the first to score in three consecutive English domestic cup finals. He scored both goals in a key 2-1 victory against Arsenal on 23 March 2008 which took Chelsea equal on points with leaders Manchester United.

On 30 April 2008, following pre-game accusations of diving by Liverpool coach Rafael Benítez, Drogba scored two goals in the UEFA Champions League semi-final against the Anfield club, which Chelsea won 3-2 at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea reaching the Champions League Final for the first time. Drogba became Chelsea's top scorer in European competition, the two goals he scored putting his tally at 17, beating Peter Osgood's record of 16. Drogba was sent off in the 117th minute of the Champions League Final for slapping defender Nemanja Vidić, becoming only the second player to be sent off in a European Cup final – after Jens Lehmann in 2006 – and the first for violent conduct. Chelsea went on to lose 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in extra time.


Drogba suffered a string of injuries early on in the 2008-09 season and struggled to regain fitness, missing games from August to November due to knee problems [9]. He scored his first goal of the season in mid-November but the Ivorian incurred a three match ban for throwing a coin back into the stands as Chelsea suffered a League Cup penalty shoot-out defeat against Burnley. Drogba scored his second goal of the season in a 2-1 victory against CFR Cluj in the UEFA Champions League, while his first Premier League goal of the season came in a 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion in late December 2008. Having missed many games through injury and suspension, Drogba had lost his first team place and manager Luiz Felipe Scolari favoured playing Nicolas Anelka as a lone striker rather than pairing the two. However, he resolved to regain his position in the squad and Chelsea remained keen to keep the Ivorian.

Upon the temporary appointment of Guus Hiddink in early February following the sacking of Scolari, Drogba enjoyed a rejuvenation of sorts, returning to his rich goal-scoring form with four goals in five games after the new manager took over. His revival in form saw him net twice against Bolton Wanderers, and four times in four Champions League matches, one in each leg of the last sixteen and quarter final of the competition against Juventus and Liverpool respectively, with these goals ensuring Chelsea's passage into the semi-finals. Just four days after his Champions League heroics, Drogba scored a late winner in the FA Cup semi-final match against Arsenal after Frank Lampard's superb pass found Drogba and he carefully rounded Arsenal goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański before slotting into an empty net. Drogba was at the centre of controversy after Chelsea's Champions League semi-final defeat at the hands of FC Barcelona. Feeling that many key decisions had gone against Chelsea, substituted Drogba confronted referee Tom Henning Øvrebø after the final whistle. He received a yellow card in the process and was recorded shouting "It's a fucking disgrace" into a live television camera. On 17 June 2009, UEFA subsequently handed him a six game European ban with the final two games suspended. The ban then was later reduced by 1 match after an appeal by Chelsea [10]. In the 2009 FA Cup Final he scored Chelsea's first and equalising goal as they went on to win 2-1, his sixth goal in a major cup final in England. Although Drogba had previously expressed his desire to switch clubs, he decided to remain with the Blues under new coach Carlo Ancelotti and sign a new contract.


9th May, 2010: Didier joins the fans in the MHL

Drogba began the 2009-10 season in fine form for Chelsea, netting a penalty during a shoot-out in the Community Shield over Manchester United, before scoring twice in a 2-1 victory over Hull City, the second a last minute winner. Drogba scored his third goal of the season against Fulham, and his fourth against Stoke City; Chelsea winning the game 2-1 with a late strike from Florent Malouda. He added a fifth at home against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on 20 September and scored his 100th goal for Chelsea in a 3-1 defeat against Wigan Athletic. Drogba was also on the scoresheet against Blackburn, and against Bolton Wanderers in the Carling Cup. Drogba went on to finish a fine move in the same week with another 4-0 win against Bolton in the Premier League.

After missing the first three Champions League matches for Chelsea with a ban, Drogba started the fourth game against Spanish side Atlético Madrid. He scored two goals in the last ten minutes and the match ended 2-2. The latter being a fine solo effort in which he beat a number of the opposition players and had his first effort saved by the goalkeeper but then slotted in the rebound. On 29 November, Drogba scored a brace against London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, the second of which a free kick from outside the box. It brought his tally for the season to 14 goals in 16 games. On 12 December, Drogba continued to impress with 2 goals in a 3-3 draw against Everton.

Between 3 and 30 January Drogba was on Africa Cup of Nations duty before returning on 2 February against Hull City where he scored a 40th minute equaliser to tie the game 1-1. On 24 March, Drogba scored his 30th goal of the season in an away game against Portsmouth.

Drogba's free kick goes in off the post to secure Chelsea's first "Double"

On 9 May, Drogba helped Chelsea clinch the Premier League by scoring a hat-trick in an 8-0 win over Wigan Athletic. In doing so, he not only collected his third League winner's medal, but also won the Golden Boot for the season for the second time, by topping the chart with 29 league goals, beating Wayne Rooney to the title who remained on 26 goals. Both players had the same number of goals (26) before the start of their respective fixtures. However, during the game, Drogba clearly appeared to be angry with team-mate and regular penalty taker Frank Lampard, after Lampard refused to let Drogba take a penalty which would put Chelsea 2-0 up, with Drogba seemingly wishing to increase his personal goal tally. Later on in the game Lampard allowed Drogba to take a penalty, which he scored to go two clear of Rooney. Drogba then scored the crucial goal in the 2010 FA Cup Final, scoring a free kick in the second half, clinching the League and FA Cup Double for the first time in the club's history. The goal was Drogba's seventh in a cup final for Chelsea, his second in consecutive FA Cup Finals, and third overall in England's showpiece final.


Having appeared as a substitute in the Community Shield loss to Manchester United, Drogba scored a hat-trick on the opening day of the Premier League season against West Bromwich Albion, his second consecutive Premier League hat-trick, having found the net three times on the final day of the 2009-10 Premier League season. His goals also meant that the Ivorian had overtaken Jimmy Greaves in Chelsea's list of all-time goalscorers. He failed to find the net in the following game, a 6-0 away victory at Wigan Athletic, though he provided assists for three of the six goals, including a sublime turn and cross to set up fellow Ivorian Salomon Kalou for Chelsea's fifth. He converted a penalty a week later, in a 2-0 victory against Stoke City at Stamford Bridge, with regular penalty taker Frank Lampard (who had missed an earlier penalty) having been substituted, taking his tally to four in three league games. After scoring his customary goal against Arsenal, Drogba missed the next couple of games with a fever. At the start of November, Drogba was left out of the starting line-up to face Liverpool at Anfield, though he did appear as a substitute for the second half as Chelsea lost 2-0. The Ivorian's ommission from the starting eleven had been due to a recurrence of the fever that had previously kept him sidelined, but it later transpired that he had been suffering from malaria for at least a month. Chelsea then suffered a poor sequence of results; Drogba's return of just four goals between the loss at Anfield and the start of April indicative of his side's lack of form. Drogba did score three times in April, but continued indifferent form following the mid-season slump ensured that the Blues finished the season trophyless.


The 2011-12 season would prove to be the last of Drogba's primary spell in west London, and though at times tempestuous it culminated in the greatest achievement of both the Ivorian's career and Chelsea's history. André Villas-Boas was installed as Carlo Ancelotti's replacement, reportedly with a brief to introduce a new style of play and gradually replace some of the side's older players. This suggestion gained credence when Drogba found himself on the bench for Chelsea's first two league games, with Fernando Torres preferred as the central striker. He did start against Norwich City, along side the Spaniard, but suffered a blow to the head and spent the following month sidelined with concussion before returning as a substitute in a 4-1 win against Swansea City in which Torres was sent off and Drogba scored a late goal.
Scoring the penalty that secured the 2012 UEFA Champions League
This allowed Drogba to gain a starting place for subsequent league games, with Torres preferred in the Champions League, however the Ivorian was himself sent off in late October, in a disastrous match against Queens Park Rangers in which Chelsea played the majority of the game with 9 men, though only losing 1-0. One month later Drogba was preferred to Torres in the starting line-up for a match against Liverpool, but away from the pitch talks with the club regarding a new contract had reportedly stalled. With his contract due to expire at the end of the season Chelsea were reportedly only willing to offer a one year extension, while Drogba's representatives suggested that if a better offer wasn't forthcoming then he would move abroad. [11] Drogba did remain a regular starter however, and scored five goals between late November and the turn of the year, shortly before leaving to participate in the Africa Cup of Nations. His last goal before departing was a 23rd minute penalty at the Shed End in a match against Aston Villa. The goal was his 150th for Chelsea, equalling the totals of both Roy Bentley and Peter Osgood and making Drogba Chelsea's joint-fourth all-time top scorer. Osgood's ashes are buried under the penalty spot at that end of the ground, and in a demonstration of his awareness of both his milestone and Chelsea's history, the Ivorian pointed towards the spot following his penalty, in acknowledgement. [12] With Ivory Coast reaching the final of the Africa Cup of Nations Drogba didn't appear for Chelsea again until mid-February, and after one substitute appearance he was selected in the starting line-up for a Champions League tie against Napoli which Chelsea disappointingly lost 3-1. Starting the next two league matches, Drogba appeared to have re-established himself as first choice upfront, but with Chelsea's season seemingly unravelling following a series of poor results, André Villas-Boas was sacked and replaced with his assistant Roberto Di Matteo. The change seemed to inject renewed impetus into the season, and though not always in the starting line-up Drogba made key contributions as they sought to progress in the cups, including the opening goal in the return leg against Napoli. By mid-April the Blues had salvaged what looked to be a disappointing season by reaching the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League. Having established himself as a "big game" player during his Chelsea career, with numerous goals in cup finals and other important matches, Drogba would play a crucial role in both ties.
Drogba salutes the fans following the 2012 UEFA Champions League final
First he opened the scoring in the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur with a superb turn and left-footed strike as Chelsea beat their London rivals 5-1 to reach the FA Cup Final, and three days later he scored the only goal of the game in the Champions League semi-final 1st leg against Barcelona, giving the Blues an advantage to take to Catalonia. Chelsea finished the job at Camp Nou with a resilient performance to reach the Champions League final, leaving the club with the opportunity to finish the season with two major trophies.

In the FA Cup Final Drogba continued his incredible record at Wembley by scoring the second goal in a 2-1 victory against Liverpool, becoming the only player to score in four separate FA Cup Finals; winning and scoring every time he had appeared in the final. Chelsea then faced Bayern Munich in their home stadium in the UEFA Champions League Final, with the Germans odds-on favourites to win the match. It was Chelsea's second appearance in the final, having lost on penalties to Manchester United four years earlier; Drogba having been sent off in extra time. In a match that the German side largely dominated in terms of attempts on goal they took the lead with just 7 minutes to go, with what appeared to be the crucial breakthrough. However in what would later be confirmed as his last match for Chelsea ( before returning for the 2014-15 season), Drogba equalised five minutes later with a superb near post header from a Juan Mata corner. It was his ninth goal in nine major finals for the Blues. The match went to extra time, but soon after the restart the Ivorian gave away a penalty for a foul on Franck Ribéry. Drogba had also given away a penalty in the 2nd leg against Barcelona, which Lionel Messi had missed, and this time former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben failed to find the net; Petr Čech keeping out the Dutchman's effort. With no further score the match would be decided by a penalty shoot-out, and with the scores level going into the final pair of kicks of the initial five, a Bastian Schweinsteiger miss gave Drogba the opportunity to win the UEFA Champions League for Chelsea for the first time. From a short run up the Ivorian striker calmly stroked the ball past Manuel Neuer to win the cup for Chelsea, in what would be the final kick of a remarkable eight years at Stamford Bridge.

After Chelsea

Shanghai Shenhua

Upon the expiry of his contract Drogba signed for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on a two-and-a-half-year contract, joining former Chelsea team-mate Nicolas Anelka at the club. [13] Just a few months later, while on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2013, Drogba signed for Turkish side Galatasaray on an 18 month contract. Shanghai Shenhua sought to block the move, claiming that Drogba was still contracted to the club [14], but the striker argued that his contract had been breached as his salary had not been paid, and the move stood, with FIFA intially granting a temporary license so that he could play for the Turkish club. He scored 8 goals in 11 appearances during his time in China. [15]


Drogba helped Galatasaray to the league title just a few months into his spell at the club, scoring five goals in 13 appearances in the league as his side clinched the 2012-13 Süper Lig. The following season Drogba played at Stamford Bridge for the first time since leaving Chelsea in the round of 16 of the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League. Afforded a hero's welcome by the home support, including a new banner in honour of the striker bearing the phrase "Always in our hearts", Drogba couldn't prevent his side being beaten 2-0 and losing 3-1 on aggregate. Though Galatasaray failed to retain their league title, Drogba added the Turkish Cup to his list of club honours in May. His contract expired at the end of the 2013-14 season, and with his erstwhile mentor José Mourinho having re-joined Chelsea a year earlier, rumours emerged that Drogba might too return to his former club in some capacity.

Return to Chelsea (2014–)

On 25 July 2014 Chelsea confirmed that Drogba had re-joined the club on a one-year contract. The Ivorian commented "It was an easy decision - I couldn't turn down the opportunity to work with José again. Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me." [16]



Drogba made his Côte d'Ivoire debut in 2002, and by the time he left Chelsea he had won 85 caps, scoring 55 goals; 46 while a Chelsea player. His first cap came on 8 September 2002 against South Africa and he scored his first goal on 11 February 2003 against Cameroon in a 3-0 victory. He represented the Ivory Coast at the 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 African Cup of Nations, helping his side to the final in 2006 and 2012, though they were runners-up on both occasions. Drogba helped his country qualify for its first ever World Cup; in Germany in 2006. He also represented Côte d'Ivoire at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, though he was hampered by injury during the tournament. He also represented his country at the 2012 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. His side reached the final in the former, but a Drogba penalty miss in normal time proved costly as Côte d'Ivoire eventually lost on a penalty shoot-out. He also represented his country at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.


See also: List of Didier Drogba goals
Season Prem FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2004-05 26 10 2 0 4 1 9 5 0 0 41 16
2005-06 29 12 3 1 1 0 7 1 1 2 41 16
2006-07 36 20 6 3 5 4 12 6 1 0 60 33
2007-08 19 8 1 0 1 1 11 6 0 0 32 15
2008-09 24 5 6 3 2 1 10 5 0 0 42 14
2009-10 32 29 4 3 2 2 5 3 1 0 44 37
2010-11 36 11 2 0 0 0 7 2 1 0 46 13
2011-12 24 5 3 2 0 0 8 6 0 0 35 13
2014-15 28 4 2 0 5 1 5 2 0 0 40 7
Total 254 104 29 12 20 10 74 36 4 2 381 164



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