Didier Drogba, what’s more to be said about him.
A UEFA Champions League triumph and multiple Premier League titles with Chelsea justifies him as one of the most enigmatic strikers ever to grace the football field. The 41-year-old is often compared to and ranked as one of the top African players alongside Samuel Eto’o and Yaya Toure.
The Côte d’Ivoire icon holds several national records, including the all-time top scorer as long as a two-time African Footballer of The Year, and now to his accolades, becomes the first footballing legend to be an ambassador for Richard Mille aside from manager Roberto Mancini.
A player who enjoyed the unequivocal admiration of supporters from the very first, he is widely considered as a late bloomer, signing his first professional contract only at the age of 21. Drogba worked his way up from Le Mans FC, before joining Guingamp, made his name at Marseille and earned a then-record $24 million move to Roman Abromovich’s squad. Under Jose Mourinho, he excelled and became one of the most lethal players on the team.
His personality and humanity was revealed to the world when he admittedly was in tears after learning that Mourinho was to leave after the 2007 season.
“Mourinho’s departure destroys a certain familiarity we had at the club. Many of us used to play first and foremost for the manager. Now we need to forget those feelings and find another source of motivation” said the striker.
Drogba moved to Shanghai Shenhua for half a season before departing for Galatasaray and guided the Turkish outfit to a title in 2013. He made a stellar return to Chelsea in 2014 and scored seven goals for them.
“It was an easy decision. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with José Mourinho again. Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me.”, he said during an interview.
As do most footballers in the twilight of their careers, Drogba joined Montreal Impact at the MLS where he scored 23 goals in two seasons. He later joined Phoenix Rising FC in USL, North America’s second division, as player and owner – he helped them reach USL finals before officially retiring in November 2018.
”I’m a fan who was given a jersey. Exchanging with supporters and being loved by fans has been the greatest thing about my career,” he humbly confesses.
Behind the player worshipped by legions of fans is a man even more respected for his personal commitments. Some may recall the 8th of October 2005, when war-torn Côte-d’Ivoire qualified for its first World Cup in the country’s history. Didier Drogba spoke out on live television, exhorting everyone to ‘cohabitate and play together for a shared goal. A country with so much wealth cannot succumb to war. Lay down your weapons.’
Determined to express his deepest convictions, he established his own non-profit organisation in 2007.
This foundation has the mission of undertaking ‘sustainable action, something that does not die.’ Based on this principle, its actions have diversified, but always in the background is the importance of contributing to greater peace in his own country and on the African continent. Among its initiatives are the construction of a pediatric outpatient centre in Abidjan, the building of a school in partnership with Nestlé in Gagnoa, the creation of an original medial vehicle ‘The Heart Mobile’ dedicated to identifying cardiovascular illnesses in Côte-d’Ivoire, support for sustainable agriculture and more.
“Thanks to my career, I had the opportunity to travel almost everywhere in Africa. What struck me most was the lack of access to health services and education.’ At the Foundation, our goal is to give populations the means to become autonomous, which is a crucial aspect for development in a community.”
A humble footballer that never forgets to give back to his roots, one that retains his dedication for a bigger cause. Didier Drogba joins the Richard Mille family of legends and icons striving to make a better future for those in need.Leave a comment