Didier Yves Drogba Tébily is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a striker. He is the all-time top scorer and former captain of the Ivory Coast national team. He is best known for his career at Chelsea, for whom he has scored more goals than any other foreign player and is currently the club’s fourth highest goal scorer of all time. He has been named African Footballer of the Year twice, winning the accolade in 2006 and 2009. After playing in youth teams, Drogba made his professional debut aged 18 for 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 the summer of 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. In March 2012, he became the first African player to score 100 Premier League goals, and also became the only player in history to score in four separate FA Cup finals the same year, when he scored in Chelsea’s win over Liverpool in the 2012 final. 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.” 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.
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After the departure of Damien Duff to Newcastle United, Drogba switched from the number 15 shirt he had worn for Chelsea since 2004 to the number 11 shirt vacated by Duff. The season was a personal success for Drogba as he hit 33 goals in all competitions (more than his tally in the previous two seasons combined), including 20 in the Premier League to win the Golden Boot. In doing so, he became the first Chelsea player since Kerry Dixon in 1984–85 to reach 30 goals in a season, scoring 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 scoring game-winners from outside the penalty area against Liverpool, Everton and Barcelona, a 93rd-minute equaliser against Barcelona at the Camp Nou and both Chelsea’s goals in their 2–1 League Cup final win over Arsenal. He also completed two hat-tricks; one against Watford and the other against Levski Sofia in the Champions League, Chelsea’s first hat-trick in European competition since Gianluca Vialli in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1997. In his last competitive game that season, he scored the winning goal over Manchester United in the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley Stadium. This also meant that he joined Norman Whiteside (Manchester United in 1983) and Mark Hughes (Manchester United in 1994) as players who have scored goals in both English domestic finals in the same year, although Drogba was the first player to end up on the winning team after scoring in both finals. In January 2007, Drogba was named the Ivorian Player of the Year, ahead of Kader Keïta, Aruna Dindane, and Kolo Touré. In March, he was named African Footballer of the Year for the first time, ahead of Samuel Eto’o and Chelsea teammate Michael Essien. His performances during the season saw him named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and runner-up to Cristiano Ronaldo in the PFA Player of the Year awards. Drogba faced problems off the pitch during the end of the season as his transfer from Marseille to Chelsea in July 2004 came under scrutiny. The Stevens inquiry in June 2007 expressed concerns because of the lack of co-operation from agents Pinhas Zahavi and Barry Silkman.
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Drogba contributed to the Ivory Coast to qualify for its first ever FIFA World Cup, held in Germany in 2006. In February 2006, Drogba captained the Ivory Coast to their second Africa Cup of Nations final, scoring the only goal in their semi-final match with Nigeria and putting away the deciding spot-kick in their record-tying 12–11 penalty shootout quarter-final win over Cameroon. However, they lost in the final to Egypt 4–2 on penalty kicks after a 0–0 draw, with Drogba’s shot being stopped by Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the Ivory Coast were drawn in a “group of death” with Serbia and Montenegro, the Netherlands and Argentina. On 10 June 2006, Drogba scored the first World Cup goal of his career and of his country’s history in the opening game against Argentina, but his team lost 2–1. The Ivory Coast were eliminated from the World Cup after their next game, a 1–2 defeat to the Netherlands, but came from 0–2 down to win against Serbia and Montenegro 3–2 in their final group game, with Drogba watching from the sidelines following suspension after picking up a yellow card in the previous two games. In the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, the Ivory Coast were drawn in a group with Nigeria, Mali and underdogs Benin. Drogba scored two goals in the group stage, opening the scoring in the 4–1 win over Benin, as well as in the 3–0 win over Mali. In the quarter-finals, Drogba was on the score sheet once again in the 5–0 win over Guinea with the last four goals coming in the final twenty minutes. The semi-final was a rematch of the 2006 final against Egypt, but it was to be the end of the road for Drogba and the Ivory Coast, losing 4–1 to the eventual champions. On 9 February, Drogba lost 4–2 to hosts Ghana and thus ended their run in the playoffs. Drogba scored six goals in five qualification games to help the Ivory Coast qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations Drogba scored one goal in the 3–1 victory against Ghana in the group stage. The Ivory Coast reached the quarter-finals but lost 2–3 to Algeria. In March 2010, he was named as the 2009 African Footballer of the Year, his second time winning the award in his career. On 4 June 2010, Drogba was injured in a friendly match with Japan. He received the injury in a high challenge from defender Túlio Tanaka. He fractured the ulna in his right arm and had an operation the next day in the hope of making the finals. On 15 June 2010, Drogba was cleared by FIFA to play in the Ivory Coast’s first group game against Portugal wearing a protective cast on his broken arm. The match ended in a goalless draw at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium with Drogba coming on in the 65th minute. On 20 June 2010, Drogba became the first player from an African nation to score against Brazil in a World Cup match, scoring with a header in the 78th minute as the Ivory Coast were defeated 1–3. On 25 June 2010, the Ivory Coast went out of the competition despite winning 3–0 against North Korea in their final match. In the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, the Ivory Coast were drawn in a group with Sudan, Angola and Burkina Faso. Drogba scored the first goal for his team in the tournament against Sudan and his only goal in the group stage. In the quarter-finals, Drogba scored twice in the 3–0 win over Equatorial Guinea. He did not score in the semi-final in which the Ivory Coast beat Mali 1–0. In the final against Zambia, Drogba missed a penalty kick in the last 15 minutes of the game, which ended with their loss for the second time by penalty shootout. In June 2014, Drogba was named in the Ivory Coast’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He won his 100th international cap in a pre-tournament friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina, scoring a penalty kick in his side’s 2–1 loss on 2 June. In the Ivory Coast’s opening match, he appeared as a second-half substitute with the team trailing 1–0 to Japan. Within five minutes of Drogba’s arrival, Les Éléphants scored twice to win the match 2–1. On 8 August 2014, Drogba announced his retirement from international football with a record of 63 goals in 104 appearances.
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Given his relatively late breakthrough into professional football, Drogba has often been described as a late bloomer, having signed his first professional contract with Le Mans at the age of 21. He is noted for his physical strength, ability in the air, and his ability to retain possession of the ball. Richard Beech of the Daily Mirror says that his “powerful and intrusive approach made him the lone striker [José] Mourinho grew to admire, and made it nearly impossible for opposing teams to isolate him and freeze him out of the game.” Drogba is renowned for performing in big games, with a goalscoring record at club level of 10 goals in 10 finals winning 10 trophies. Aside from his goalscoring ability, Drogba is also capable of providing assists to his teammates. Between the 2009–10 and 2011–12 seasons, he managed 24 assists in the Premier League, with an average pass success rate of 61.4 percent, owing to his vision and creativity on the ball. He provided 71 assists to teammates over the course of his entire career at Chelsea until May 2012, showing that he is also a team player. In set pieces, Drogba has also been known for his free kick ability, known to strike the ball with power and pace. Dr. Ken Bray of University of Bath has described him as a specialist especially from central positions, and says that he “really just passes the ball very hard”. He adds, “He hits it [the ball] very straight and appears to hit the ball with a very powerful side-foot action, almost like the technique used in a side-foot pass. Drogba’s style is about beating the goalkeeper with speed and depth.” Drogba’s diverse and robust playing style has seen him frequently cited as the toughest striker numerous defenders have had to face, these include Gerard Piqué Carles Puyol Chris Smalling Nemanja Vidić and Laurent Koscielny.
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Sky Sport journalist Massimo Marianella is probably the most reliable Premier League pundit in Italy being always very well informed about news coming from England and being also a very close friends of some big Premier League personalities such as Didier Drogba and Claudio Ranieri.He always comments Didier Drogba’s goals with a crazy emphasis. When Drogba recently met Massimo Marianella at Stamford Bridge for a Chelsea’s game he asked him to make his famous Drogba goal’s style shout. This beside is the result
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Drogba is credited with playing a vital role in bringing peace to his country. After the Ivory Coast qualified for the 2006 World Cup, Drogba made a desperate plea to the combatants, asking them to lay down their arms, a plea which was answered with a cease fire after five years of civil war. Drogba later helped move an African Cup of Nations qualifier to the rebel stronghold of Bouake; a move that helped confirm the peace process. On 24 January 2007, Drogba was appointed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a Goodwill Ambassador. The UNDP were impressed with his previous charity work and believed that his high-profile would help raise awareness on African issues. In September 2011, Drogba joined the Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue Commission as a representative to help return peace to his home nation. His involvement in the peace process led to Drogba being named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine for 2010. Drogba’s charity work continued when, in late 2009, he announced he would be donating the £3 million signing on fee for his endorsement of Pepsi for the construction of a hospital in his hometown of Abidjan. This work was done through Drogba’s recently created “Didier Drogba Foundation” and Chelsea announced they too would donate the fee for the deal toward the Foundation’s project. Drogba decided on building the hospital after a recent trip to the Ivorian capital’s other hospitals, saying “… I decided the Foundation’s first project should be to build and fund a hospital giving people basic healthcare and a chance just to stay alive.” In November 2014, Drogba appeared in FIFA’s “11 against Ebola” campaign with a selection of top football players from around the world, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Gareth Bale and Xavi. Under the slogan “Together, we can beat Ebola”, FIFA’s campaign was done in conjunction with the Confederation of African Football and health experts, with the players holding up eleven messages to raise awareness of the disease and ways to combat it. Levallois Sporting Club, the amateur club where Drogba began his career, used their percentage of his transfer fees including £600,000 out of the £24 million paid when he joined Chelsea – first to ensure the club’s survival, and then to improve their stadium to incorporate modern sports facilities for the benefit of the local community. They renamed the new stadium Stade Didier Drogba in his honour.