Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has confirmed his retirement from professional football at the age of 40.
The former Ivory Coast captain made the disclosure while speaking with BBC Sportshour.
“After 20 years, I have decided to put an end to my playing career. It’s the best way to end, helping some young talent to develop.
“To give something back to the game was the best way to finish as I have learned so much in the game.”
Drogba made his professional debut aged 18 for French Ligue 2 club Le Mans and signed his first professional contract aged 21. After finishing the 2002–03 season with 17 goals in 34 appearances for Ligue 1 side Guingamp, he moved to Olympique de Marseille, where he finished as the third highest scorer in the 2003–04 season with 19 goals and helped the club reach the 2004 UEFA Cup Final.
In July 2004, Drogba moved to Premier League club Chelsea for a club record £24 million fee, making him the most expensive Ivorian player in history. In his debut season he helped the club win their first league title in 50 years, and a year later he won another Premier League title.
His displays saw him named in the FIFA World XI for 2007. In March 2012, he became the first African player to score 100 Premier League goals. Just two months later, he scored in Chelsea’s 2012 FA Cup Final win over Liverpool to become the first (and as of 2017, the only) player to score in four separate FA Cup finals.
He also played in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, in which he scored an 88th-minute equaliser and the winning penalty in the deciding shoot-out against Bayern Munich.
After spending 6 months with Shanghai Shenhua in China, and one and a half seasons with Turkish club Galatasaray where he scored the winning goal in the final of the 2013 Turkish Super Cup, Drogba returned to Chelsea in July 2014.
With a career record of scoring 10 goals in 10 finals winning 10 trophies at club level, Drogba has been referred to as the “ultimate big game player.” He joined Canadian club Montreal Impact in 2015 as a Designated Player and played 41 matches over two seasons, scoring 23 goals.
Drogba became a player-owner for Phoenix Rising, part of the American second division, in 2017.
An Ivory Coast international between 2002 and 2014, Drogba captained the national team from 2006 until his retirement from the Ivory Coast team and is the nation’s all-time top goalscorer with 65 goals from 104 appearances. He led the Ivory Coast to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, their first appearance in the tournament, and also scored their first goal.
He later captained the Ivory Coast at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. He was part of the Ivory Coast teams that reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2012, but were beaten on penalties on both occasions. On 8 August 2014, he announced his retirement from international football.
1x Champions League
4x Premier League
4x FA Cup
3x League Cup
2x Community Shield
2x PL Golden Boot
1x Süper Lig
1x Turkish Cup
2x African POTY