Didier Drogba, one of Chelsea’s greatest ever players
Now a legend in the eyes of everyone affiliated to the club, but when Didier arrived from Marseille in the summer of 2004 for a £24 million fee many were sceptical about his ability to perform at the highest level.
Expectations were high, however 11 years down the line we can now say that Didier without a doubt exceeded those expectations and he will live long in the memory of every Chelsea fan that had the pleasure of watching him play, and after all, he did produce the greatest ever moment in Chelsea history, that penalty in Munich.
First stint with the club
In 2004 Jose signed the Ivorian striker for £24 million, an arguably high amount at the time. Didier scored his first goal for the club away to Crystal Palace in a routine 2-0 win for the Blues. His first season at Chelsea was plagued by injuries, but Didier still finished the season with 16 goals along with the Premier League trophy and a League Cup winners medal.
In the 2005/2006 season Didier had a greater impact on the side due to his longer periods of playing time. Although he scored the same amount of goals as the previous season, many felt Didier improved the longer the season went on. He ended the season with yet another Premier League trophy under his belt and an FA Community Shield.
Over the course of the 2006/2007 season Didier scored a total of 33 goals in 60 appearances, he scored some memorable ones as well, notably his goal at Stamford Bridge against Liverpool and his goal at Goodison Park against Everton.
He finished the season well, picking up the FA Cup as well as scoring the first goal at the new Wembley in the FA Cup final against Man United.
On the back of a good season in 2006/2007, Didier struggled to replicate his good form and scored 15 goals during the 2007/2008 season. He however did score some vital goals including a brace in the Champions League semi-final 2nd leg at home to Liverpool to send the Blues into the final against English rivals Man United, a game the Blues unfortunately lost on penalties, with Drogba being sent off in extra time for a tame slap on Nemanja Vidic.
Drogba had a strange 2008/2009 season, with many disciplinary issues getting in the way of his football on the pitch, most notably his (easily justified) verbal assault of referee, Tom Henning Ovrebo in the Champions League semi-final loss to Barcelona.
Drogba ended the season on 14 goals, a figure he drastically improved on during the following season. He scored 37 goals in all competitions during the 2009/2010 season, ending as the Premier League’s top scorer, pipping Wayne Rooney and Man United to the title in the process with a last day of the season hat-trick at home to Wigan.
He rounded the season off in fine style, scoring yet another winning goal in the FA Cup final at Wembley against Portsmouth.
And he started the 2010/2011 season where he finished off the last, scoring a hat-trick in the Blues first Premier League game of the season at home to newly promoted West Brom.
The rest of the season did not go to well as his old injuries came back to haunt him yet again, ending the season on 13 goals, a small contribution compared to what he notched up the previous season. Many argue this was largely down to the introduction of the Fernando Torres at Stamford Bridge.
Regardless, Drogba’s final season at Chelsea was a memorable one. He won the FA Cup for a 3rd time as well as the all-important Champions League trophy. Drogba played a vital role in both these successes, notching up goals in both the semi-final and final of both competitions respectively.
He left Chelsea with a bang scoring the equalising goal in the Allianz arena against Bayern Munich. His last contribution for Chelsea was to roll the winning penalty into the back of the net for Chelsea to obtain their first ever Champions League triumph.
Second stint with the club
When Jose bought Didier back to the club at the beginning of the 2014/2015 season, we all knew that he was only going to be a bit part player. There however is no question as to how much experience and guidance he brought to our relatively young squad.
Didier’s influence in the dressing room has undoubtedly been massive and I’m sure Chelsea will miss him this next season. Didier played a vital role towards the end of the season as both our 1st and 2nd choice strikers were injured.
He ended the season with 7 goals to his name, a healthy figure for a player of both his age and role in the squad. On the final day of the season, Didier was carried off the pitch by his peers and he received yet another standing ovation from the Stamford Bridge crowd.
He ended the season with yet another Premier League title under his belt and another League Cup winner’s medal to add to his already large trophy cabinet. Didier can leave Chelsea with his head held high, knowing that he has played a major role in the success of the club over the past decade and his contribution will never be forgotten by Chelsea fans.
Didier scored 157 goals for Chelsea during his first stint with the club and played a major role in the success of the team throughout the years he was at the club. His contribution to Chelsea during these years is unquestionable and we can never thank him enough for what he did for the club during this time.
One of Chelsea’s greatest ever goal scorers
Didier Drogba will go down as one of Chelsea’s greatest ever strikers if not the greatest. His record speaks for itself. Didier played 369 games for the club, scoring 164 goals. Didier is currently the 4th highest all time goal scorer for the club, an indication of how well he has done during his time at Chelsea.
Didier won 14 trophies with the club, an outstanding achievement. He won 4 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cup titles, 3 League Cup titles, 2 Community Shield’s and of course the most elusive of all, the Champions League trophy. Didier played a major role in almost all of these successes and acquired a reputation as the man for a big occasion.
He scored 10 goals in 10 finals for Chelsea, an almost unheard of amount. This shows you how Didier was the heartbeat of Chelsea’s success in English football over the past decade.
As well as winning many trophies with Chelsea, Didier has many individual accolades to show for his efforts over the years. He picked up the Premier League golden boot in the 2006/2007 season and the 2009/2010 season, as well as being in the PFA team of the season in both those years. He won the Chelsea’s Players Player of the Year award in 2007 as well as the Chelsea Player of the Year award after his record breaking season in 2009/2010.
Didier was also part of UEFA’s Team of the Year in 2007 as well as various man of the match awards in numerous finals for Chelsea during his time at the club, most notably the Champions League final in 2012.
My Favourite Didier Drogba Goals
5. vs Spurs FA Cup Semi-Final, 2011/2012
Many thought Didier was passed his best during the 2011/2012 season, however as Drogba usually does on the Wembley stage he produced the goods with an absolute rocket of a strike into the top corner after spinning former Chelsea player, William Gallas, on the edge of the box and striking the ball on the volley to get Chelsea on their way to what ended up being a 5-1 romp at the hands of one of their greatest rivals.
4. vs Barcelona, Champions League Semi-Final 1st leg, 2011/2012
A superb counter attack started by Frank Lampard inside his own half after dispossessing Lionel Messi, before caressing the ball into the path of the onrushing Brazilian midfielder, Ramires, who scuffed the ball across the 18 yard area to an eager Didier Drogba who lashed the ball home, sending Stamford Bridge into absolute delirium. The importance of that goal and the spirit it seemed to give the team throughout the rest of Chelsea’s Champions League winning campaign is why it is in my list of top 5 goals scored by Didier Drogba.
3. vs Liverpool Home, 2006/2007
With the game hanging in the balance at 0-0, the ball fell to the chest of the big man 20 yards out from goal with his back to the goal, there was clearly only one thing on his mind at this stage, what he did next was quite spectacular. Drogba turned Carragher before unleashing a wicked half volley into the bottom corner to put Chelsea 1-0 up, a goal I’m sure many Chelsea fans will never forget.
2. vs Man United Away, 2009/2010
With 77 minutes gone at Old Trafford, Chelsea were leading 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Joe Cole. However United were looking threatening and putting pressure on the Blues. Chelsea needed just 1 goal to almost certainly wrap up the Premier League title for the first time in 4 years. The ball found its way to Drogba just inside the 18 yard box to the right hand side, with one swing of his right foot, Drogba lashed the ball into the top corner to arguably seal Chelsea’s first title in 4 years. A crucial and vital goal in the context of Chelsea’s season and one that many fans will never forget.
1. vs Bayern Munich, Champions League Final 2011/2012
6 minutes earlier, Thomas Muller had put Bayern into the lead with a downward looking header going in off the crossbar. Many of us Chelsea fans feared the worse, yet another loss in a Champions League final. This was not to be the case as with 2 minutes remaining in normal time, Fernando Torres won Chelsea a corner, Juan Mata swung it in; this was surely Chelsea’s last chance. With one whip of the neck, Didier latched onto the cross, sending a bullet header into the top corner out of the grasp of Manuel Neuer, to send Chelsea fans into absolute pandemonium. The game went to extra time, before Didier stepped up to score the winning penalty to finally give Chelsea fans the trophy they had been waiting for. Without Didier popping up at that corner we would probably still be searching for our 1st Champions League trophy.
Most important Didier Drogba Moments:
- Double Vs. Arsenal in the 2005 Community Shield
- Goal Vs. Liverpool in the 2005 League Cup Final
- Goal Vs. Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in 2006
- 2006 Champions League group stage Vs. Barcelona
- 2007 FA Cup Final Vs. Man United
- 2007 League Cup Final Vs. Arsenal
- 2009 FA Cup Final Vs. Everton
- 2010 FA Cup Final Vs. Portsmouth
- 2012 Champions League Semi-Final Vs. Barcelona
- 2012 Champions League Final Vs. Bayern Munich
- 2015- Goal Vs. Leicester at the King Power Stadium
Drogba’s Relationship with Mourinho
Much praise should be given to Jose for bringing Drogba to Chelsea. The two have always had a strong bond and I suspect both hold a special place in one another’s heart because they both helped to make each other greats of the English game.
Mourinho made Drogba the spearhead of his attack during their title winning seasons in 2005 and 2006, whilst Drogba’s performances on the pitch helped Jose become one of the best managers the world of football has ever seen.
Even when Jose left Chelsea in 2007, he and Drogba still kept a close relationship and always stayed in contact with one another. There’s no doubt that Jose is one of the reasons Drogba became the player he was. When Drogba first signed for Chelsea in 2004 a journalist asked Jose if £24 million was too much, Jose simply responded by saying “judge him when he leaves the club”.
It’s fair to say that throughout Drogba’s two spells at Chelsea he has certainly been worth the money and he leaves the club as one of our greatest ever players alongside the likes of Peter Osgood, Bobby Tambling and Kerry Dixon.
A Chelsea Legend
Being a part of the younger generation of Chelsea fans, I have watched Didier throughout my childhood and he is undoubtedly my favourite ever Chelsea player.
The goals he scored and the way he played in his prime were arguably unrivalled by any other striker in world football.
Didier, it’s been a pleasure.