Drogba, Didier Yves Tébily (French pronunciation: [didje dba]; born March 11, 1978) is an Ivorian professional football striker. He is the Ivory Coast national team’s all-time leading scorer and a former captain. He is most remembered for his stint with Chelsea, when he scored more goals than any other foreign player and is now the club’s fourth highest goal scorer all time. He has won the African Footballer of the Year award twice, in 2006 and 2009. Drogba made his professional debut at the age of 18 with Ligue 2 club Le Mans, and signed his first professional contract at the age of 21. He went to Olympique de Marseille after ending the 2002–03 season with 17 goals in 34 appearances for Ligue 1 side Guingamp. He ended the 2003–04 season as the club’s third best scorer with 19 goals and helped the team reach the 2004 UEFA Cup Final. Drogba joined Premier League side Chelsea in the summer of 2004 for a club record price of £24 million, making him the most expensive Ivorian player in history. He led the team win its first league title in 50 years in his inaugural season, and a year later he won another Premier League title. He became the first African player to achieve 100 Premier League goals in March 2012, and he also became the only player in history to score in four different FA Cup finals in the same year, when he scored in Chelsea’s 2012 final triumph against Liverpool. He also appeared in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, when he equalised in the 88th minute and won the penalty shootout against Bayern Munich. Drogba returned to Chelsea in July 2014 after spending 6 months with Shanghai Shenhua in China and one and a half seasons with Turkish side Galatasaray, where he scored the winning goal in the 2013 Turkish Super Cup final. Drogba has been dubbed the “ultimate big game player” for his career record of scoring 10 goals in 10 finals and winning 10 trophies at club level. Drogba was an Ivory Coast international between 2002 and 2014, and he led the national team from 2006 until his retirement in 2014. He is the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer, with 65 goals from 104 games. He guided the Ivory Coast to their first FIFA World Cup participation in 2006, and he also scored their first goal. He then captained the Ivory Coast in the FIFA World Cups in 2010 and 2014. He was a member of the Ivory Coast teams that reached the Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2006 and 2012, but were defeated on penalties on both occasions. He declared his retirement from international football on August 8, 2014.
VERY EARLY LIFE
Drogba was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and was transferred to France by his parents when he was five years old to live with his uncle, professional footballer Michel Goba. Drogba, on the other hand, quickly got homesick and returned to Abidjan after three years. His mother dubbed him “Tito” after Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito, whom she passionately adored. He played football every day in a city car park, but his return to the Ivory Coast was brief. After both of his parents lost their jobs, he moved back in with his uncle. In 1991, his parents moved to France, first to Vannes and then, in 1993, to Antony in the Paris suburbs, where Drogba, then 15, returned to live with them and his brothers. He began playing team football more often here, joining a local young team. Drogba then joined the semi-professional club Levallois, where he established himself as a prolific scorer in the youth squad while also impressing the coach with his professional demeanour. His efforts won him a spot in the senior squad, but despite scoring on his debut, the 18-year-old Ivorian failed to make an impact on first team coach Jacques Loncar.
WORK IN A CLUB
Le Mans –
When Drogba graduated from high school, he travelled to Le Mans to study accountancy at university, and he had to change teams, becoming an apprentice at Ligue 2 club Le Mans. However, his first two years were plagued by injuries, and he was physically unable to keep up with the rigorous training and match schedule. Marc Westerloppe, a former Le Mans coach, subsequently stated that “it took Didier four years to be competent of practising every day and playing every week.” Furthermore, due to his complex home background, Drogba had never attended a football academy and had only begun daily football training as an adult.
Drogba realised at the age of 21 that he needed to establish himself as a player quickly or else he would have little chance of becoming a professional footballer. Soon after, he made his first squad appearance with Le Mans and earned his first professional deal in 1999. He and his Malian wife Alla welcomed their first kid, Isaac, the same year. “Isaac’s birth was a turning moment in my life, it straightened me up,” he later said of his new duties. His debut season, in which he scored seven goals in thirty games, boded well for the future, but he did not live up to expectations the following season. Drogba lost his starting spot to Daniel Cousins due to injury, and when he returned, he failed to score for the rest of the season. The next season, though, he returned to form, scoring five goals in 21 appearances.
Guingamp, a Ligue 1 team, made a transfer offer to Drogba halfway through the 2001–02 season, and he departed Le Mans for a price of £80,000. Drogba appeared in 11 games and scored three goals for Guingamp in the second half of the 2001–02 season. While his services assisted the team in avoiding relegation, the coaching staff remained sceptical of their new young striker. However, the following season, he rewarded his coaches’ patience by scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances and assisting Guingamp to a record seventh-place finish in the league. He thanked his teammates for his outstanding season, citing winger Florent Malouda, a long-time friend of Drogba’s, as a significant role in his prolific goalscoring that season. His prolific goal scoring record piqued the interest of larger teams, and at the end of the season, he joined Ligue 1 side Olympique de Marseille for a cost of £3.3 million.
Drogba remained in the club after a coaching change, scoring 19 goals and won the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Player of the Year title. He also scored five goals in the UEFA Champions League that season and six in the UEFA Cup. At the end of the season, he became Chelsea’s then-record acquisition for £24 million. His shirt from his one season at Marseille is also framed at Marseille’s Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, which he handed to the church before the 2004 UEFA Cup Final.
Drogba joined Chelsea in July 2004 for £24 million and scored his first goal for the club with a header against Crystal Palace in his third game. His season was cut short when he strained a stomach muscle against Liverpool, keeping him out for more than two months. Chelsea won the Premier League, their second English top-flight title and first in 50 years, as well as the League Cup. Later, Drogba scored in extra time in a 3–2 final triumph over Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium, advancing to the Champions League semi-finals. Drogba scored 16 goals in 40 appearances for Chelsea in his debut season, ten in the Premier League, five in the Champions League, and one in the League Cup final.
Drogba began the 2005–06 season with two goals in a Community Shield victory over Arsenal. During Chelsea’s 2–0 win against Manchester City, he was accused of cheating, which tarnished his image. Replays revealed that he controlled the ball with his hand before scoring the second of his two goals. This happened barely a week after a similar occurrence against Fulham, in which the goal was overturned. Chelsea went on to retain the league championship with two games remaining, becoming only the second team in Premier League history to do it. Drogba scored 16 goals in the Premier League, two in the Community Shield, one in the Champions League, and one in the FA Cup this season.
After Damien Duff left Chelsea for Newcastle United, Drogba moved from the number 15 shirt he had worn since 2004 to the number 11 shirt vacated by Duff. Drogba had a personal success season, scoring 33 goals in all competitions (more than his previous two seasons combined), including 20 in the Premier League to earn the Golden Boot. He became the first Chelsea player since Kerry Dixon in 1984–85 to score 30 goals in a season, with 20 in the Premier League, six in the Champions League, three in the FA Cup, and four in the League Cup.
Among the highlights were game-winning free-kicks against Liverpool, Everton, and Barcelona, a 93rd-minute equaliser against Barcelona at the Camp Nou, and both Chelsea goals in their 2–1 League Cup final triumph against Arsenal. He also scored two hat-tricks in the Champions League, one against Watford and the other against Levski Sofia, making him Chelsea’s first hat-trick in European play since Gianluca Vialli in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1997. In his last competitive game of the season, he scored the game-winning goal in the inaugural FA Cup final at the new Wembley Stadium against Manchester United. This also meant that he joined Norman Whiteside (Manchester United in 1983) and Mark Hughes (Manchester United in 1994) as the only players to score in both English domestic finals in the same year, but Drogba was the first to finish up on the winning team after scoring in both finals.
Drogba was awarded Ivorian Player of the Year in January 2007, beating out Kader Keta, Aruna Dindane, and Kolo Touré. For the first time, he was crowned African Footballer of the Year in March, beating out Samuel Eto’o and Chelsea colleague Michael Essien. During the season, he was selected to the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and finished second to Cristiano Ronaldo in the PFA Player of the Year honours.
Drogba had off-the-field issues towards the conclusion of the season, as his move from Marseille to Chelsea in July 2004 was scrutinised. The Stevens probe raised concerns in June 2007 due to the lack of cooperation from agents Pinhas Zahavi and Barry Silkman.
The 2007–08 season started poorly for Drogba, who expressed reservations over manager José Mourinho’s departure. He was allegedly in tears when Mourinho informed him that he would be leaving the club, and he remarked “Mourinho’s departure has shattered a sense of familiarity we had at the club. Many of us used to play for the manager first and foremost. Now we must put those sentiments aside and look for another source of inspiration “.. Following these allegations, Drogba spoke to France Football Magazine “I want to get away from Chelsea. Something is broken at Chelsea, and the damage is extensive in the locker room “.. Despite signing a four-year deal with the club in 2006, Drogba allegedly mentioned many preferred clubs in the interview, naming Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan, or Internazionale as possible future destinations; nevertheless, he later said he regretted this and was fully dedicated to Chelsea. Drogba made up to the fans by scoring twice in Chelsea’s 2–0 win against Middlesbrough on October 20, 2007, against Schalke 04 in the Champions League four days later, and twice against Manchester City. Drogba was named the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year in December 2007, finishing fourth after Kaká, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Drogba continued to score goals, but he was injured on the training ground and opted to have knee surgery. He was out for four weeks and missed crucial games against Valencia, Arsenal, and Liverpool. Drogba returned from injury to participate in an FA Cup third round encounter against Queens Park Rangers, where he wore the captain’s armband for the last 30 minutes, but it was his final appearance for Chelsea before international service at the Africa Cup of Nations. Upon his comeback, Drogba scored in the 2008 League Cup Final, becoming the all-time greatest scorer in League Cup Finals with four goals, but he could not prevent Chelsea from losing 2–1 to Tottenham Hotspur. Drogba also became the first player in history to score in three League Cup finals, as well as the first to score in three straight English domestic cup finals. On March 23, 2008, he scored both goals in a crucial 2–1 victory over Arsenal, pulling Chelsea level on points with leaders Manchester United.
Drogba was involved in a fight with Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidi on April 26, 2008. After losing a tooth in the fight, the Serbian center-back needed sutures beneath his lip. There was debate over whether Drogba intended to harm his competitor. The discussion also drew attention to a previous incident on November 26, 2006, in which Drogba elbowed Vidi. Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United, has raised worry over elbowing in the Premier League. Despite public conjecture, the Football Association considered Drogba’s yellow card for the clash to be sufficient punishment.
Drogba was accused of diving by Liverpool manager Rafael Bentez prior to the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match against Liverpool. Bentez claimed to have created a four-year dossier on Drogba’s “diving” exploits, but Drogba responded in an interview. Drogba scored two goals in the second leg of Chelsea’s semi-final against Liverpool on April 30, 2008, which Chelsea won 3–2 at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea defeated Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time after losing the previous two matches. Chelsea also reached their first Champions League Final as a result of this. Drogba surpassed Peter Osgood’s record of 16 goals in European play, becoming Chelsea’s highest scorer in European competition. Drogba was sent off in the 117th minute of the Champions League Final for slapping defender Vidi, becoming only the second player – after Jens Lehmann in 2006 – to be sent out in a European Cup final, and the first for violent behaviour. After a 1–1 stalemate in extra time, Chelsea went on to lose 6–5 on penalties. Drogba was set to take the pivotal fifth spot-kick in the shootout, according to Chelsea assistant manager Henk ten Cate. Team captain John Terry took his position, but he missed the penalty after sliding while taking it.
Drogba sustained a slew of injuries early in the 2008–09 season and battled to recover, missing games from August to November owing to knee issues. In mid-November, he scored his first goal of the season, but there was little cause to celebrate: he received disciplinary action and a three-match ban for tossing a coin back into the stands, and Chelsea lost in the League Cup against Burnley. Drogba scored his second goal of the season in a 2–1 UEFA Champions League victory against CFR Cluj, while his first Premier League goal came in a 2–0 win over West Bromwich Albion in late December 2008. Drogba had lost his first-team spot after missing several games due to injury and suspension, and boss Scolari preferred playing Nicolas Anelka as a lone striker rather than partnering the two. He was determined, though, to reclaim his spot on the squad.
Following the temporary hiring of Guus Hiddink in early February following Scolari’s dismissal, Drogba had a type of rebirth, returning to goal-scoring form with four goals in five games after the new manager took over. His resurgence saw him score twice against Bolton Wanderers and four times in four Champions League matches, one in each leg of the competition’s last sixteen and quarter-final against Juventus and Liverpool, respectively, with these goals guaranteeing Chelsea’s progress into the semi-finals. Drogba scored a late goal in the FA Cup semi-final encounter against Arsenal just four days after his Champions League games. Frank Lampard’s pass found Drogba, and he gently circled Arsenal goalkeeper ukasz Fabiaski before sliding the ball into Arsenal’s empty net. Drogba also sparked debate following Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final loss to Barcelona. Substituted Drogba approached referee Tom Henning vreb after the final whistle, believing that several decisions had gone against Chelsea. In the process, he earned a yellow card and was caught on tape screaming “It’s a fucking disgrace” into a live television camera. On June 17, 2009, UEFA issued him a six-game European suspension, with the last two games suspended. Following an appeal by Chelsea, the punishment was reduced by one match. Drogba scored Chelsea’s first and only goal in the 2009 FA Cup Final, which they won 2–1. This was his sixth goal in an English major cup final. Despite earlier expressing a desire to leave Chelsea, Drogba chose to stay with the Blues under new coach Carlo Ancelotti and signed a new deal.
Drogba started the 2009–10 season in fine form for Chelsea, scoring a penalty in a shootout against Manchester United in the Community Shield before scoring twice in a 2–1 win over Hull City. In a 3–1 win over Sunderland, Drogba earned an assist when he was fouled in the penalty box, giving Chelsea a penalty that Frank Lampard converted. Drogba scored his third goal of the season in Chelsea’s third game of the season against West London rivals Fulham. Drogba scored his fourth goal of the season against Stoke City, and Chelsea won the game 2–1 thanks to a late Malouda strike. On September 20, he added a fifth goal at home against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. In a 3–1 loss to Wigan Athletic, he scored his 100th goal for Chelsea. Drogba played a key role in Chelsea’s 2–0 win over title rivals Liverpool on October 4. He played a role in both goals, assisting Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda. On 24 October 2009, he scored a glancing header against Blackburn, bringing his tally to eight goals in eleven appearances and scoring his third goal in as many games. Drogba continued his fine form, scoring a header against Bolton Wanderers in a 4–0 League Cup win. Drogba went on to score a goal in the same week in another 4–0 Premier League win against Bolton Wanderers.
After missing Chelsea’s first three Champions League games due to a ban for being unsportsmanlike, Drogba started the fourth game against Atlético Madrid in Spain. He scored twice in the final ten minutes, and the game ended 2–2. Drogba scored two goals against London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on November 29th, the second of which was a free kick from outside the box. It brought his season total to 14 goals in 16 games. Drogba continued his excellent form with two goals in a 3–3 draw against Everton on December 12.
Between 3 and 30 January Drogba was on Africa Cup of Nations duty and came back on 2 February against Hull City where he scored a 40th-minute equaliser to tie the game 1–1. On 24 March, Drogba scored his 30th goal of the season in an away game against Portsmouth.
On 9 May, Drogba helped Chelsea to win the Premier League by scoring a hat-trick in an 8–0 win over Wigan Athletic. In doing so, he not only collected his third League winner’s medal but also won the Golden Boot for the season, his second time doing so, by topping the chart with 29 league goals, beating Wayne Rooney to the title who remained on 26 goals. Both players had the same number of goals (26) before the start of their respective matches. However, during the game, Drogba appeared to be clearly angry with team-mate and regular penalty taker Frank Lampard, after Lampard refused to let Drogba take a penalty which would lead Chelsea to go 2–0 up and give him a chance of winning the golden boot. Lampard scored the penalty, but Drogba did not celebrate with his team-mates. Later in the game, though, when Chelsea was already 5–0 up, Ashley Cole was tripped in the area, and Lampard again let Drogba to take the penalty, which he converted to put him two goals ahead of Rooney.
The following week, Drogba scored the lone goal in the 2010 FA Cup Final against Portsmouth from a free-kick, extending his record of scoring in all six English cup finals (FA Cup and League Cup).
Drogba came in as a replacement for Anelka in the Community Shield against Manchester United, but he couldn’t save Chelsea from a 3–1 defeat. He began the Premier League season in good style, picking up where he left off on the final day of the previous season, scoring a hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion in a 6–0 triumph. Drogba assisted three goals in Chelsea’s following game, a 6–0 victory over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. Drogba also played the next game at home against Stoke City, when he played the entire 90 minutes and scored his fourth Premier League goal of the season when he converted a penalty after Nicolas Anelka was pulled down inside the area by Thomas Srensen. Drogba sat out the first half of Chelsea’s 2–0 loss against Liverpool on November 7, 2010. He had been suffering from malaria for at least a month, it was subsequently found. He originally complained of feeling ill before the international break in October 2010, but the disease was not identified until November 8, 2010. Chelsea assured him that he would be fully recovered in a matter of days after diagnosing the problem.
On August 27, 2011, Drogba received a concussion while playing against Norwich City after colliding with Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy. Drogba returned to the Chelsea team against Swansea City on September 24 after missing two games. Drogba then scored his first goal of the season in a 4–1 victory. Drogba was sent off against Queens Park Rangers on October 23rd, and Chelsea lost 1–0. On November 29, Drogba rejected a new contract with Chelsea and was poised to join the highest bidder. Drogba scored his 150th goal for Chelsea against Aston Villa on December 31, 2011, tying him with Peter Osgood and Roy Bentley as the club’s all-time leading scorer. Despite the fact that Chelsea was leading thanks to Drobga’s penalty, the game ended in a 3–1 loss for the Blues.
Drogba scored Chelsea’s 99th Premier League goal on February 25, 2012, in a 3–0 win over Bolton Wanderers. Drogba scored his 100th Premier League goal for Chelsea in a 1–0 win over Stoke City on March 10, 2012. He is the first African player to achieve that feat.
On 15 April, Drogba scored his eighth goal at Wembley against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, smashing the ball past old teammate Carlo Cudicini as Chelsea won 5–1 and advanced to the FA Cup Final against Liverpool. Three days later, he scored the game-winning goal as Chelsea defeated Barcelona 1–0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Semi-Final. Drogba became the first player to score in four different FA Cup Finals when he scored the game-winning goal in Chelsea’s 2–1 victory against Liverpool on May 5.
Drogba equalised from Juan Mata’s corner in the 88th minute of the Champions League final on May 19, 2012, sending Chelsea into extra time and ultimately penalties. He also scored the game-winning penalty in Chelsea’s 4–3 shootout triumph over Bayern Munich. “As far as I was concerned, he [Drogba] won the Champions League for Chelsea,” Sir Alex Ferguson said. Drogba’s headed goal was his eighth in nine cup final appearances for Chelsea. Chelsea great Gianfranco Zola remarked after the game about Drogba’s skill in big games, saying, “In all their really significant matches, he has put a stamp on it.” Drogba was chosen Chelsea’s best ever player in a survey of 20,000 supporters held by Chelsea Magazine in November 2012.
Shenhua Shenhua Shenhua Shenhu
Chelsea announced on their official website on May 22, 2012, that Drogba will be departing the club when his contract ends at the end of June 2012. On June 19, 2012, Drogba announced his intention to join Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, where he will reunite with former Chelsea colleague Nicolas Anelka. He reportedly signed a two-and-a-half-year contract for £200,000 per week. Drogba made his debut for Shanghai Shenhua in a 1–1 away draw against Guangzhou R&F on July 22, coming on as a second-half replacement for Brazilian defender Moisés. In the 67th minute, he provided Cao Yunding’s equaliser. He scored his first two goals in a 5–1 triumph against Hangzhou Greentown on August 4. On August 25, he scored two more goals, both set up by Anelka, as Shenhua drew 3–3 with Shandong Luneng.
Drogba committed to a one-and-a-half-year contract with Galatasaray on January 28, 2013. He would be paid a €4 million signing bonus plus a base salary of €4 million each season (€2 million for the remainder of the 2012–13 Süper Lig) and €15,000 per match. However, on January 30, 2013, Shenhua issued a press statement stating that Drogba would unilaterally violate his contract if he joined Galatasaray.
Drogba claimed that he had not been paid by the club and requested that FIFA, the sport’s governing body, void his contract. FIFA gave him a provisional permission to play for Galatasaray awaiting the conclusion of the contract dispute in February 2013.
Drogba made his debut for Galatasaray against Akhisar Belediyespor on February 15, scoring five minutes after coming off the bench in a 2–1 loss. Drogba scored twice in a 3–1 victory over Mersin dmanyurdu on April 6. Drogba scored his first goal for Galatasaray in the Champions League against Real Madrid on April 9. Drogba scored twice in a 3–1 victory over Elazigspor on April 20.
On 5 May, he won his first title with Galatasaray, defeating Sivasspor 4–2. Drogba and his Ivorian teammate Emmanuel Eboue were subjected to racist taunts from opposing fans at Galatasary’s derby match against Istanbul rivals Fenerbahçe on 12 May, but no fines or bans were imposed on the supporters or the club. On 11 August, he scored the lone goal in the 2013 Turkish Super Cup against the same opponents, and on 22 September, he scored two second-half goals in a 2–1 away win against other city rivals Beşiktaş, albeit the match was called off owing to hooliganism from the opponents’ fans.
Go back to Chelsea.
Chelsea confirmed on their official website on July 25, 2014, that Drogba had finalised his return to the club on a free transfer and had signed a one-year deal. Drogba spoke of his return to the club: “It was a simple choice. I couldn’t pass up the chance to work with José Mourinho again. Everyone is aware of my particular affinity with this club, which has always seemed like home to me.” Mourinho also weighed in on the move, saying: “He’s coming because he’s one of Europe’s finest attackers. I know his nature well, and I know that if he returns, he will not be shielded by history or what he has already done for this club. He’s come with the intention of making more history.” Chelsea confirmed on July 28, 2014, that Drogba would wear the number 15 shirt he wore when he originally arrived for the club in 2004. Mohamed Salah, who wore the number 17 jersey during the 2013–14 season, stepped into the number 17 shirt left vacant by Eden Hazard. However, on 15 August, it was revealed that Drogba had been handed back the number 11 shirt he had previously worn at the club, with Oscar taking over the number 8 jersey vacated by Frank Lampard.
Drogba made his Premier League debut for Chelsea on August 18, 2014, in a 3–1 win away to Burnley, replacing winger Eden Hazard in the 84th minute at Turf Moor. On September 17, he made his second start of the season, a 1–1 home tie against Schalke 04 in Chelsea’s first Champions League group stage encounter. On 21 October, he scored his first goal in his second tenure at Stamford Bridge, scoring a penalty kick in a 6–0 Champions League triumph over Maribor. Five days later, with injuries to Diego Costa and Loc Rémy limiting Chelsea’s offensive, Drogba started against Manchester United at Old Trafford, marking his 350th appearance for the club. He headed in the first Premier League goal of his second tenure early in the second half, but Robin van Persie equalised in extra time. Against Schalke 04, he scored his 50th goal in European football.
Drogba declared on May 24, 2015, that Chelsea’s last game of the season against Sunderland will be his last as a Chelsea player. He started the game as captain and was injured after half an hour, being carried off by his teammates in a 3–1 victory.
The Montreal Impact
Drogba signed an 18-month Designated Player deal with Major League Soccer club Montreal Impact on July 27, 2015. On August 23, he made his debut in a 0–1 home loss to the Philadelphia Union, replacing Dilly Duka in the second half. Drogba scored a hat-trick in his debut MLS start on September 5, becoming the league’s first player to do so. It was also deemed a “perfect hat-trick,” with one goal scored with each foot and one with the head. He was named MLS Player of the Month in September after scoring seven goals in his first five appearances in the league.
On October 25, he scored both of the Impact’s goals from back heels as the club rallied from behind to upset Toronto FC 2–1 at home in the 401 Derby; the victory secured Montreal home advantage for their knock-out match against Toronto in the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs. Drogba scored 11 goals in 11 games during the 2015 MLS regular season. Drogba scored Montreal’s third goal in a 3–0 home triumph against Toronto in the knock-out round of the Playoffs on October 29, advancing the club to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals for the first time in its history; they were eliminated by Columbus Crew SC. He was selected one of three contenders for the 2015 Major League Soccer Newcomer of the Year Award.
During the MLS summer, newly hired Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink expressed interest in bringing Drogba on as a short-term coach after Drogba paid a visit to Stamford Bridge with Hiddink and owner Roman Abramovich to watch a Chelsea play. Montreal then reaffirmed their desire for Drogba to complete his contract with the club, but were remained in the dark until Drogba officially announced his intention to play for Montreal in the 2016 MLS season on March 3, 2016. Drogba began his preseason training away from the club in Qatar before joining the Impact for the second part of their preseason training in St. Petersburg, Florida. On March 3, club technical director Adam Braz revealed that Drogba will not play on artificial turf to begin the season owing to potential knee consequences.
Drogba was named to the 2016 MLS All-Star Game team in July 2016, scoring in a 2–1 loss to Arsenal on July 28.
Drogba declined to play for the team that night, withdrawing his name from the squad, when manager Mauro Biello left him out of the starting lineup for a match against Toronto FC. Drogba did not travel with the club to, but was in attendance at, their first postseason encounter at DC United, a 4–2 victory on 27 October, due to both his fitness and his place in the team in doubt. Drogba did not have quite the same degree of success in his second regular season as he had in his first, scoring only 10 goals in 22 appearances.
AN INTERNATIONAL JOB
Drogba helped Ivory Coast qualify for their first FIFA World Cup, which was hosted in Germany in 2006.
Drogba guided the Ivory Coast to their second Africa Cup of Nations final in February 2006, scoring the lone goal in their semi-final encounter against Nigeria and converting the winning spot-kick in their record-tying 12–11 penalty shootout quarter-final triumph against Cameroon. However, after a 0–0 draw, they were defeated 4–2 in penalties by Egypt, with Drogba’s attempt being saved by Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary.
The Ivory Coast was drawn in a “group of death” with Serbia and Montenegro, the Netherlands, and Argentina for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Drogba scored the first World Cup goal of his career and in his country’s history in the opening game against Argentina on June 10, 2006, although his side lost 2–1. The Ivory Coast were eliminated from the World Cup after their second game, a 1–2 loss to the Netherlands, but fought back from a 0–2 deficit to win 3–2 against Serbia and Montenegro in their final group game, with Drogba watching from the sidelines due to a yellow card in the previous two games.
The Ivory Coast was placed in a group alongside Nigeria, Mali, and underdogs Benin for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. Drogba scored two goals in the group stage, starting the scoring in both the 4–1 victory over Benin and the 3–0 victory over Mali. Drogba scored again in the quarter-finals, this time in a 5–0 triumph against Guinea, with the last four goals coming in the closing twenty minutes. The semi-final was a repeat of the 2006 final versus Egypt, but it proved to be the end of the road for Drogba and the Ivory Coast, as they were defeated 4–1 by the eventual champions. Drogba’s playoff run came to an end on February 9 when he was defeated 4–2 by hosts Ghana.
Drogba helped the Ivory Coast qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup by scoring six goals in five qualification games. In the group stage of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, Drogba scored one goal in a 3–1 victory over Ghana. The Ivory Coast advanced to the quarter-finals but was defeated 2–3 by Algeria. He was selected the 2009 African Footballer of the Year in March 2010, his second time receiving the title in his career.
Drogba was hurt during a friendly match against Japan on June 4, 2010. He was hurt in a strong challenge from defender Tlio Tanaka. He broke his right arm’s ulna and had surgery the next day with the hopes of making the finals. FIFA authorised Drogba to participate in the Ivory Coast’s opening group game against Portugal on June 15, 2010, while wearing a protective cast on his fractured arm. The game finished in a scoreless tie at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with Drogba entering in the 65th minute. Drogba became the first African player to score against Brazil in a World Cup match on 20 June 2010, scoring with a header in the 78th minute as the Ivory Coast lost 1–3. Despite winning 3–0 against North Korea in their last match, the Ivory Coast was eliminated from the competition on June 25, 2010.
The Ivory Coast was placed in a group with Sudan, Angola, and Burkina Faso for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. Drogba scored his team’s first goal in the tournament against Sudan, as well as his lone goal in the group stage. Drogba scored twice in a 3–0 triumph over Equatorial Guinea in the quarterfinals. He did not score in the Ivory Coast’s 1–0 semi-final win over Mali. In the final versus Zambia, Drogba missed a penalty attempt in the closing 15 minutes of the game, resulting in their second penalty shootout loss.
Drogba was chosen to the Ivory Coast team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in June 2014. On 2 June, he earned his 100th international cap against Bosnia and Herzegovina in a pre-tournament friendly, scoring a penalty kick in his team’s 2–1 loss. In the Ivory Coast’s first match, he came on as a second-half replacement with the side trailing Japan 1–0. Les Éléphants won the match 2–1 within five minutes of Drogba’s entrance. Drogba announced his retirement from international football on August 8, 2014, with a record of 63 goals in 104 games.