Eight years, 157 goals, 341 games. It really is the end of an era for Chelsea, as Didier Drogba leaves the club on a free transfer this Summer.
Signed for a fee of £24million from Marseille as a 26 year-old, he took the Premier League by storm, catapulting Chelsea to consecutive league titles, as well as collecting a Golden Boot for a staggering 33 goals in a season, in 06/07.
Despite his achievements at the Londoners, it was almost fate that in his last season, he would score in both the FA Cup final, and score the winning penalty in the Champions League final, as well as that vital equaliser in normal time.
No-one would’ve been happier than Drogba, who suffered penalty heartache just a few seasons previous to Manchester United, and that heartbreaking loss to Barcelona in the semi-finals, where he infamously launched a four-letter tirade at the Sky cameras, not one of his finest moments in a Chelsea shirt, but optimised his love and passion for the club.
Fernando Torres certainly has large boots to fill, no doubt the £50million hitman was signed last season with Drogba’s exit in mind, and the Ivorian heaped more pressure on the blonde-locked Spaniard by insisting that he was indeed the man to take the shooting boots at The Blues, as they will no doubt be under huge pressure to improve from the sixth position finish they achieved this season.
The 6ft2 beast isn’t finished in England yet though, as he will be galloping through Swindon with the Olympic Flame this afternoon, ahead of the Olympic Games to be started next month.
Nobody is sure what is next for the hitman, a rendezvous with David Beckham in the MLS is an option, as is a trip to China’s up and coming Super League, although he has ruled out a move to another Premier League club, bringing sighs of relief from anyone wearing a Chelsea shirt.
There will always be a space left for Drogba at Chelsea, one of the few players that have survived the whole reign under the Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, which has seen him climb up to fourth on their all-time goal scorers list, and it seems Drogba will always hold Chelsea dear, telling the Chelsea Official Website,
“I would also like to say a very special thank you to the Chelsea fans who have shown me so much love and support over the years. I wish the club all the best and continued success for the future – you will always be in my heart.”
Some will remember, eight years ago when Jose Mourinho signed him for such a large sum, people questioned him, asking whether he was worth that sort of money. The special one replied, “Judge him when he leaves the club”
For me? Bargain.
By Brad Smith