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Didier Drogba PDF Print E-mail

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Didier Yves Drogba Tébily (born 11 March 1978) is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays in the centre forward position. He currently plays for Chelsea in the Premier League and is the captain and all-time top scorer of the Ivory Coast national football team. He has scored more goals for Chelsea than any other foreign player and is currently Chelsea's 7th highest goal scorer of all time.

 

After playing in youth teams, Drogba made his professional debut aged 18 for Ligue 2 club Le Mans. A late bloomer, he signed his first professional contract aged 21 but it was not until the 2002–03 season that he realised his potential, scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances in Ligue 1 for Guingamp. During the same season he made his first international appearance for Ivory Coast in September and scored his first international goal the following February. He moved to Olympique de Marseille in 2003 for £3.3 million and his prolific ways continued, finishing as the third highest scorer in the league with 19 goals and making it to the 2004 UEFA Cup Final.

Drogba moved to Chelsea the following season for a record breaking fee of £24 million, making him the most expensive Ivory Coast player in history. In addition, Drogba scored decisive goals in the 2005 FA Community Shield and League Cup Final and helped the club win their first ever Premier League title. Drogba came to prominence as one of the world's foremost strikers in 2006 as he won the league title with Chelsea again and captained the national team for the first time. In the 2006 World Cup he scored Ivory Coast's first ever goal of the competition and he was chosen as the 2006 African Footballer of the Year. The next season he finished as top scorer in the 2006–07 Premier League with 20 goals and also scored the winning goals in the 2007 League Cup and FA Cup finals.

Drogba, is by many, credited with a vital part in bringing peace to his country. After 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 5 years of civil war. Drogba later helped move an African Cup of Nations qualifier to the rebel stronghold of Bouake a move which has been credited with affirming the peace process. His involvement in the peace process lead to Drogba being named as one of the worlds 100 most influential people by Time Magazine .

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Early life

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Didier Drogba was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and at the age of five was sent to France by his parents to live with his uncle, Michel Goba, a professional footballer. However, Drogba soon became homesick and returned to Abidjan after three years. His mother nicknamed him "Tito", after president Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia whom she admired greatly. He played football every day in a car park in the city but his return to Côte d'Ivoire was short lived. Both of his parents lost their jobs and he again returned to live with his uncle. In 1991, his parents also travelled to France, first to Vannes and then settling in 1993 at Antony in the Paris suburbs, at which point the 15-year-old Drogba returned to live with them and his siblings. It was here that he began playing team football more frequently, joining a local youth side. Drogba began his career as a junior player at the semi-professional club Levallois, gaining a reputation as a prolific scorer in the youth team and impressing the coach with his professional attitude. His performances earned him a place in the senior squad but, despite scoring on his debut, the 18-year-old Ivorian failed to make an impression on Jacques Loncar, the first team coach.

Club career

Le Mans (1997–2002)

When Drogba finished school he switched cities to study accountancy at college and he had to change club, becoming an apprentice at Ligue 2 club Le Mans. However, his first two years there were marred by injuries and he was physically struggling to cope with the training and match schedule. Former Le Mans coach Marc Westerloppe later remarked that "it took Didier four years to be capable of training every day and playing every week". Furthermore, Drogba's complicated family life meant that he had never attended a football academy and only began daily football training as a fully grown adult.

By age 21, Drogba realized that he had to establish himself as a player soon or else he would have little chance of becoming a professional footballer. He made his first team debut for Le Mans soon thereafter and signed his first professional contract in 1999. Drogba's personal life was also becoming more serious as he and his Malian wife Alla had their first child, Isaac. He grew into his new responsibilities later stating: "Isaac's birth was a turning point in my life, it straightened me out". His first season boded well for the future, scoring seven goals in thirty games, but the following season did not live up to expectations. Drogba lost his place to Daniel Cousin due to injury, then upon his return he failed to score throughout the remainder of the season. However, he returned to form the following season making 21 appearances and scoring five times


Guingamp (2002–2003)

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Halfway through the 2001–02 season Ligue 1 club Guingamp consolidated months of interest with a transfer offer and Drogba left Le Mans for a fee of £80,000. The second half of the 2001–02 season saw Drogba make eleven appearances and score three goals for Guingamp. While his contributions helped the club avoid relegation, the coaching staff remained unconvinced of their new young striker. However, the next season he rewarded his coaches' patience, scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances and helping Guingamp finish seventh, a record league finish. He credited his teammates for his impressive season, highlighting the contributions of winger Florent Malouda, a long time friend of Drogba, as a key factor in his goalscoring prolificity that season. His strong goal scoring record attracted interest from larger clubs and at the end of the season he moved to Ligue 1 outfit Marseille for a fee of £3.3 million.




Marseille (2003–2004)

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Olympique de Marseille manager Alain Perrin signed Drogba from Guingamp, though he was soon replaced by José Anigo. Drogba retained his place in the team, scoring 19 goals and winning the Ligue de Football Professionnel's Player of the Year. He also scored five goals in that season's UEFA Champions League and six in the UEFA Cup. At the end of the season he was bought by Chelsea as the club's then record signing for £24 million. His shirt from his only season at OM is also framed in the basilica of Marseille, Notre-Dame de la Garde, which he presented to the church before the 2004 UEFA Cup Final.









Chelsea (2004–present)

Signing for Chelsea in July 2004 for £24 million, Drogba scored in his third game for the club with a header against Crystal Palace. His season was interrupted when he pulled a stomach muscle against Liverpool which kept him out of action for over two months. Chelsea won the Premiership, only their second English top-flight championship and their first in 50 years, and the League Cup, with Drogba scoring in extra time in a 3-2 final win against Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League. Drogba scored 16 goals in 40 games for Chelsea in his first season: 10 in the Premiership, five in the Champions League and one in the League Cup final.

Drogba started the 2005–06 season by scoring two goals in a Community Shield win over Arsenal. His reputation was marred amidst accusations of cheating during Chelsea's 2-0 win over Manchester City. Replays showed that he had used his hand to control the ball before scoring the second of his two goals. Coming just a week after a similar incident against Fulham where the goal was disallowed, Drogba was accused of cheating. In a post match interview with the BBC, he acknowledged that he had handled the ball and seemingly admitted to cheating, saying, "Sometimes I dive, sometimes I stand," before immediately retracting his comment: "I don't dive, I play my game".

Chelsea went on to retain the league title with two games to play, becoming only the second team to win back-to-back English titles in the Premier League era. Again Drogba finished with 16 goals for the season, 12 in the league, two in the Community Shield, one in the Champions League and one in the FA Cup.

 

2006–07

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. The breakdown of his 33 goals is; 20 in the Premier League, six in the UEFA Champions League, three in the FA Cup and four in the League Cup.

Among the highlights were scoring winners from outside the penalty area against Liverpool, Everton and Barcelona, a 93rd minute equalizer 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 domestic Finals in the same year in England, although Drogba was the first player to end up on the winning team after scoring in both finals.

 

In January 2007, Drogba was crowned the Ivorian Player of the Year, ahead of Kader Keita, 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 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 close 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.

2007–08

The 2007–08 season began badly for Drogba as he expressed doubts about the departure of manager José Mourinho. He was reportedly in tears when Mourinho told him he was leaving the club, and said "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". Following these claims, Drogba told France Football Magazine "I want to leave Chelsea. Something is broken with Chelsea, The damage is big in the dressing room". Despite having signed a four year contract with the club in 2006, Drogba reportedly pointed out several favoured clubs in the interview, identifying Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan or Internazionale as possible future destinations, he later admitted he regretted this and was 100% committed to Chelsea. He soon regained the trust of the board and fans , scoring in Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough on 20 October 2007, against Schalke 04 in the Champions League four days later, and 2 goals against Manchester City, giving superb performances in all.

Drogba continued scoring goals but suffered an injury at the training ground and decided to have an operation on his knee. He was unable to play for four weeks and missed key games against Valencia, Arsenal and Liverpool. Drogba returned from injury to play in an FA Cup third round match against QPR and wore the captain's armband for the last 30 minutes in which he was on the pitch, but that was his last performance for The Blues before international duty at the African Nations Cup. Upon his return Drogba scored a goal in the 2008 League Cup Final which made him the all-time leading scorer in League Cup Finals with four. He also became the first player to score in three League Cup finals and the first to score in three consecutive English domestic cup finals. He scored both goals in a key 2-1 victory against Arsenal on 23 March 2008 which took Chelsea equal on points with leaders Manchester United.

On 26 April 2008 Drogba faced controversy after a clash with Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidić. The Serbian centre-back had to have stitches under his lip after losing a tooth in the clash. There was discussion whether Drogba had the intention or not to injure his rival. The debate also called in to question an earlier incident on 26 November 2006 where Drogba elbowed Vidić. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson expressed concerns over elbowing in the Premiership. Despite media speculation, Drogba's yellow card for the clash was deemed adequate punishment by the FA.

 

Controversy still dogged the player as before the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg clash with Liverpool, Drogba was accused of diving by Liverpool coach Rafael Benítez. Benítez claimed to have compiled a four-year dossier of Drogba's "diving" antics but Drogba hit back at Benítez in an interview.

 

On 30 April 2008 Drogba scored two goals in the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, which Chelsea won 3-2 at Stamford Bridge. This was the first time Chelsea had beaten Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Champions League, having lost their previous two meetings to Liverpool. This also led to Chelsea reaching their first Champions League Final. Drogba became Chelsea's top scorer in European competition, the two goals he scored putting his tally at 17, beating Peter Osgood's record of 16. Drogba was sent off in the 117th minute of the Champions League Final for slapping defender Vidić, becoming only the second player to be sent off in a European Cup final - after Jens Lehmann in 2006 - and the first for violent conduct. Chelsea went on to lose 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in extra time. Chelsea assistant boss Henk ten Cate revealed Drogba was due to take the crunch fifth spot-kick in the shootout. Team captain John Terry took his place but missed after slipping whilst taking the penalty.

2008–09

Drogba suffered a string of injuries early on in the season and struggled to regain fitness, missing games from August to November due to knee problems. He scored his first goal of the season in mid-November but there was little reason to celebrate: he incurred disciplinary action and a three match ban for throwing a coin back into the stands and Chelsea suffered a League Cup defeat against Burnley. Drogba scored his second goal of the season in a 2–1 victory against CFR Cluj in the UEFA Champions League, while his first Premier League goal of the season came in a 2–0 win against West Bromwich Albion in late December 2008. Having missed many games through injury and suspension, Drogba had lost his first team place and manager Scolari favoured playing Nicolas Anelka as a lone striker rather than pairing the two. However, he resolved to regain his position in the squad and Chelsea remained keen to keep the Ivorian.


Upon the temporary appointment of Guus Hiddink in early February following the sacking of Scolari, Drogba enjoyed a rejuvenation of sorts, returning to his rich goal-scoring form with four goals in five games after the new manager took over. His revival in form saw him net twice against Bolton Wanderers, and four times in four Champions League matches, one in each leg of the last sixteen and quarter final of the competition against Juventus and Liverpool respectively, with these goals ensuring Chelsea's passage into the semi-finals. Just four days after his Champions League heroics, Drogba scored a late winner in the FA Cup semi-final match against Arsenal after Frank Lampard's superb pass found Drogba and he carefully rounded Arsenal goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański before slotting into an empty net. Drogba also caused controversy after Chelsea's Champions League semi-final defeat at the hands of FC Barcelona. Feeling that many decisions had gone against Chelsea, substituted Drogba confronted referee Tom Henning Øvrebø after the final whistle. He received a yellow card in the process and was recorded shouting "It's a fucking disgrace" into a live television camera. On 17 June 2009 UEFA subsequently handed him a six game European ban with the final two games suspended.The ban then was cut down by 1 match after an appeal by Chelsea F.C In the 2009 FA Cup Final he scored Chelsea's first and equalising goal as they went on to win 2-1. This was his sixth goal in a major cup final in England. Although Drogba had previously expressed his desire to switch clubs, he decided to remain with the Blues under new coach Carlo Ancelotti and sign a new contract.

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2009–10

Drogba began the season in fine form for Chelsea, netting a penalty during a shoot-out in the Community Shield over Manchester United, before scoring twice in a 2–1 victory over Hull City. Drogba earned himself an assist when he was fouled in the area to give Chelsea a penalty, which Frank Lampard duly converted, in a 3–1 victory over Sunderland. In Chelsea's third game of the season against West-London rivals Fulham, Drogba scored his third goal of the season. Drogba scored his fourth goal of the season, against Stoke City; Chelsea ended winning the game 2–1 with a late strike from Malouda. He added a fifth at home against London rivals Tottenham on 20 September. He scored his 100th goal for Chelsea in a 3–1 defeat against Wigan Athletic. Drogba was again important in the 2–0 win over title rivals Liverpool on 4 October. He was involved in both goals, setting up Anelka and Malouda. He then scored a glancing header against Blackburn on 24 October 2009, bringing his tally to an impressive 8 goals in 11 appearances, scoring his third goal in as many games. Drogba continued his fine form scoring a header against Bolton in a 4–0 thrashing in the Carling Cup, Drogba went on to score a fine team goal in the same week with another 4–0 win against Bolton in the Premiership. Drogba has so far managed to score nine goals and give five assists this season in the Premier League.

After missing the first three Champions League matches for Chelsea with a ban, Drogba started the fourth game against Spanish side Athletico Madrid. He scored two goals in the last ten minutes and the match ended 2-2. The latter being a fine solo effort in which he beat a number of the opposition players and had his first effort saved by the goalkeeper but then slotted in the rebound. On 29 November, Drogba scored a brace against London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, the second of which a free kick from outside the box.[46] It brought his tally for the season to 14 goals in 16 games. On 12 December, Drogba continued to impress with 2 goals in 3-3 draw against Everton FC.

Between 3 and 30 January Drogba was on African Nations cup duty and came back on the 2 february against Hull 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.

International career

Drogba is a Ivory Coast international and helped the team qualify for its first ever World Cup, held in Germany in 2006. His first cap came on 8 September 2002 against South Africa and he scored his first goal with "The Elephants" on 11 February 2003 against Cameroon in a 3–0 victory.

In February 2006, Drogba captained Côte d'Ivoire to their second African 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 penalties after a 0–0 draw, with Drogba's shot being stopped by Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary in a penalty shoot-out.

In the 2006 World Cup, Côte d'Ivoire were drawn in a "group of death" with Serbia and Montenegro, the Netherlands and Argentina. On 11 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. 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.

In the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, 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 and the first on the score sheet again in the 3–0 win over Mali. In the quarter finals, Drogba was on the score sheet once again in the 5–0 thrashing of 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, at the hands of the 2006 champions, losing 4–1 and then had no more luck in third place play-off, losing 4–2 to Ghana.

He scored 6 goals in 5 qualification games to helped the team 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. 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.

Personal life

Drogba is married to Alla, a Malian woman whom he met in Paris, and the couple have three children together. His eldest son, Isaac, was born in France in 1999. He has two younger brothers who are also footballers: Joël and Freddy Drogba. Freddy, 17, is currently in the youth system of French side Le Mans. 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. Drogba's charity work continued when, in late 2009, he announced he would be donating the 3 million GBP 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."

 

Honours

Club

England Chelsea

* FA Premier League: 2004-05, 2005-06

* FA Community Shield: 2005, 2009

* League Cup: 2004-05, 2006-07

* FA Cup: 2006-07, 2008-09

 

Individual

* Onze d'Or: 2004

* UEFA Cup Top Scorer: 2004

* Ligue 1 Goal of the Year: 2004

* Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2004

* Ligue 1 Player of the Year: 2004

* Ivorian Footballer of the Year: 2006, 2007

* African Footballer of the Year: 2006, 2009

* PFA Team of the Year: 2007, 2010

* Premier League Top Scorer: 2007

* UEFA Team of the Year: 2007

* ESM Team of the Year: 2007

* FIFPro World XI: 2007

* BBC African Footballer of the Year: 2009

* Time Top 100: 2010

* Ivory Coast all-time Top Scorer

 

External links

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 02:03
 

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