Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has announced his retirement from the game after 20 years as a footballer where he made his mark the most at Chelsea.
The 40-year-old is regarded as the club’s best ever striker and one of the greatest players to have played for Chelsea. But all that could easily have changed if Drogba made the wrong decision one year after signing for Chelsea.
Drogba joined Chelsea in 2004 from Marseille for a fee of £28m, but his first season at Stamford Bridge didn’t go as planned.
Drogba scored a total of 16 goals in all competitions for the Blues in which he featured in 40 games in his first season: ten in the Premier League, five in the Champions League and one in the League Cup final. And he has now revealed that he was disappointed at his season and almost quit the club but the words of then manager Jose Mourinho made him to stay.
“There was a time after the first season I was looking for that comfort zone, which means going back to Marseille to be the only striker with the team playing for you,” he said.
“And then I heard Mourinho saying something really interesting to me and the team. He was talking about the players. He was saying, ‘You know, if you want to be the only king, then go back to the team that you were playing and scoring for. Go back there.
“‘But here, there’s 22 kings. So you accept it, work together, or you go — go back to where you came from and be the only king where everybody is behind you.’
“I understood it. For me, this is the challenge I was expecting and I had done that with Marseille already. Now I had arrived at a team where even the centre-back had scored 10 or 15 goals in the season. Suddenly I thought, ‘Wow, where is my place here?’
“I knew I needed to improve and that’s what really challenged me and it’s why I became the player that I was.”
Drogba ended up scoring 164 goals in 381 appearances to cement his place as the club’s fourth all-time highest scorer.
Drogba was indeed the man for the big occasion at Chelsea and scored nine goals in nine finals for the club.
He won 11 major trophies with the Blues, and will forever be remembered as the hero in Munich when Chelsea won the Champions League title in 2014, and like they say ‘the rest is history’.