In the 2001/02 season Drogba joined Ligue 1 side Guingamp for a fee of £80,000 scoring 3 goals in 11 appearances, most notably an equaliser against giants Lyon in a historic 3-3 draw. Undoubtedly he managed to help the club avoid relegation in his first season. In his second season with the French side, the Ivorian showcased his potential scoring 17 goals in 34 games, which caught the eye of Europe’s big guns.
At the start of the 2003/04 season he was snapped up by “the club of his dreams” Olympic Marseille for a fee of £3.3million, and given the number 11 shirt to wear. This was the best season of his career so far, as he played Champions League football for the first time where he scored 5 goals in 6 matches despite Marseille only featuring in the group stages. In Ligue 1 he was the star player of the season, where he scored 19 goals in 35 matches, in which many of the finishes highlighted his brilliance up front and lead him to pick up several awards including; the Ligue 1 “goal of the year”, “Player of the Year” and a place in the Ligue 1 “Team of the Year”.
In this magical season his brilliance helped take Olympic Marseille to reach the UEFA Cup Final, helping himself to 6 goals in the process, scoring against the likes of Liverpool, Inter Milan and Newcastle. The French side lost to Valencia 2-0 in the final after their luck had seemingly ran out, and Drogba was unlucky to be on the losing side.
In 2004, at the age of 26, Didier Drogba left the Stade Velodrome for Stamford Bridge in a transfers saga that ended with a the striker joining Chelsea for a fee of £24million. He would end his career at Marseille with a record of 30 goals in 51 games. He was signed by Jose Mourinho and scored his first ever goal against Crystal Palace, wearing the number 15 shirt. In his first season he helped Chelsea to win the Premiership for the first time since it became so, and helped the Blues win the League Cup, scoring and beating Liverpool 3-2 in the final. Drogba also had trouble this season, being accused of diving and cheating with the use of hands in finishing goals in big games, something Drogba refutably denied.
The 2005/06 season was a year of progression for the striker, Drogba started with 2 goals in a 2-1 win against Arsenal in the Community Shield. He then helped Chelsea retain their second Premiership title scoring a total of 17 goals in all competitions and creating 11 assists.
In the summer of 2006, Drogba captained his country Ivory Coast to the World Cup in Germany. Drogba’s side face the “Group of Death” after being drawn against Holland, Argentina and Serbia and Montenegro. The Elephants lost to Argentina and Holland 2-1 in both games with Drogba scoring against the Argentineans in the 82nd minute. The one win wasn’t enough as the Ivory Coast finished third in the group but gave an excellent account of themselves.
The 2006/07 was an excellent season for Drogba, as he switched to the number 11 shirt and he managed 33 goals in 60 games played for Chelsea. He picked up the Premiership Golden Boot for the first time with 20 goals, and helped Chelsea win the FA Cup final over Manchester United and the League Cup Final over Arsenal. He also picked up the Ivorian player of the year award, African player of the year and runner up to Cristiano Ronaldo in the PFA Player of the Year awards.
In the 2007/08 season saw Chelsea lose Mourinho and Drogba felt the most frustration at his departure expressing his desire to indeed leave the club too. Inter, AC Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid all circling Chelsea’s star player. However he did indeed stay at the bridge, whereby despite a season dogged by injury, he still reached the League Cup Final and Champions League Final, but losing to Tottenham and Manchester United respectively. Drogba was sent off in the Champions League Final. His tally for this season was 16 goals in 31 games.
The 2008/09 season saw Drogba score 16 goals in 42 games, and he took Chelsea to the final of the FA Cup, and the Blues beat to Everton 2-1 in the Final with Drogba scoring the first for Chelsea. The downside to the season was Drogba and Chelsea’s Champions League semi final defeat to Barcelona, where Andres Iniesta scored in the last minute, which furious protests from all the Chelsea players including Drogba; who confronted the referee and was seen swearing on Sky TV. The actions of the Ivorian saw him banned for 5 Champions League games.
In this current season Drogba the form of Didier Droga has been better than ever, he has taken Chelsea to the summit of the Premiership, continued tormenting teams, taking his tally of goals against Arsenal in his career to 12 goals in 12 games against Arsene Wenger’s side. He has helped his side to the knockout stages of the Champions’ League, Sixth round of the FA Cup and represented Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations. His tally so far for this season is 17 goals in 21 games, with 6 assists.
Blessed with strength, power, pace, finishing ability, great technique, skill and aerial ability, and despite being at the age of 31, Drogba is a world class player, and now considered the best and most complete striker in the world.
This is Real Talk Football’s tribute to the star