Didier Drogba is a former Ivorian professional footballer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time. He first came to prominence at Marseille, where he helped the French club to the 2004 UEFA Cup final. The next season, he was signed by Jose Mourinho to lead Chelsea’s attack, for £24million.
Success came instantly, with Drogba winning the Premier League in his first season, and scoring in the 2005 League Cup final, where The Blues beat Liverpool 3-2 in Cardiff. Chelsea followed this success up by retaining the Premier league in the 2005/06 season, with Drogba scoring 12 league goals to help Chelsea become only the second side to retain the Premier League since its inception in 1992.
2006/07 was a prolific season for Drogba, scoring 33 goals in all competitions, including 20 in the Premier League which saw him win the golden boot. Chelsea failed to retain their league title, and lost on penalties to Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League Semi-final, but winning goals by the Ivorian in the 2007 League Cup Final against Arsenal and the 2007 FA Cup final against Manchester United, ensured it was another trophy laden season for the club.
The departure of Jose Mourinho from Stamford Bridge in September 2007 shocked the football world, and left Drogba and fellow dressing room members in tears. Drogba contributed with 15 goals in all competitions, but couldn’t guide Chelsea to a trophy. He was sent off in extra time during the Champions League final in 2008 for a slap to the face of Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic. Chelsea lost 6-5 on penalties in the resulting shootout.
2008/09 saw more Champions League heartbreak, with Chelsea conceding in injury time and being knocked out on away goals by eventual winners Barcelona in the Semi-final. However, the 2009 FA Cup final saw Drogba score again at Wembley, as Chelsea beat Everton 2-1.
2009/10 was Drogba’s most prolific season in the blue shirt. 37 goals in all competitions was the highest total of goals in a season since Jimmy Greaves in 1961, as Chelsea won the Premier League and retained the FA Cup. The season also saw Drogba win the golden boot for the second time, finishing on 29 league goals, including vital goals at the Emirates, Old Trafford and Anfield, and a final day hattrick in an 8-0 win against Wigan to seal the title.
The following season was less successful, with Chelsea finishing second in the league and finishing the season without a trophy, which saw the departure of manager Carlo Ancelotti. After years of waiting, Drogba finally got his hands on European football’s biggest prize in 2012.
Drogba scored against Bayer Leverkusen and Valencia in the Champions League group stage, to ensure qualification as group winners. He then scored a vital goal in a 5-4 aggregate win against Napoli and the opening goal in the Semi-final against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge. In the final at the Allianz Arena on May 19, 2012, Chelsea were 1-0 down until the 88th minute, where Drogba diverted a Juan Mata corner past Manuel Neuer and sent the game to extra time.
The game went to penalties, and after Bastian Schweinsteiger had his penalty saved by Petr Cech, the Ivorian sent Neuer the wrong way to win Chelsea the Champions League for the first time. It was the greatest moment in the West London club’s history and appeared to be the last for Drogba, with the club announcing his departure just three days later.
A spell in China with Shanghai Shenhua followed, where he linked up with former teammate Nicolas Anelka before returning to European football with Turkish side Galatasaray. His contract expired in 2014, and Drogba made the decision to re-sign for Chelsea, now managed again by Jose Mourinho.
He helped Chelsea win their first league title for five years, the 2014/15 Premier League, with Drogba scoring vital goals at home to Tottenham and away at Manchester United and Leicester, to help seal Chelsea’s fifth league crown. His last game for Chelsea came against Sunderland in a 3-1 win in May 2015, with Drogba carried off of the pitch by his teammates when he was substituted. He scored a total of 164 goals in his two spells at the club.
Drogba had a successful career on the international stage as well, scoring 65 goals in 105 appearances for Ivory Coast and appearing in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 editions of the FIFA World Cup.
In 2020 he launched a bid to become president of the Ivory Coast FA but didn’t receive any votes from ex-players in the first round of voting despite being one of the favourites. He remains part of the ownership of Phoenix Rising, the last club he played for before retirement.
In April 2022, Drogba was inducted into the Premier League hall of fame. He was the first African player to score 100 Premier League goals.
Drogba is worth around £75million as per Celebrity Net Worth. He is thought to have earned around £150,000 a week during his first spell at Chelsea.