Chelsea Legend Didier Drogba's 11 Biggest Career Highlights

Didier Drogba recently announced his retirement from football at the age of 40. 


Not only is the Ivorian a bonafide Chelsea legend, but he was also an iconic figure in English and world football as a whole. 


Undoubtedly one of the greatest foreign exports the Premier League has ever seen, Drogba enjoyed a glittering career that spanned 20 years for eight different clubs. 


Here are 11 highlights from the striker's illustrious career. 

11. First FA Cup Final Goal at New Wembley

The history books will always show that the first person to score a goal in an FA Cup at the new Wembley Stadium was Didier Drogba and nobody can take that away from him. 


Coming in the 2007 FA Cup final against Manchester United, Drogba struck deep into extra time to win the trophy for Chelsea - their second trophy of the season after their League Cup triumph earlier in the season. 

10. Cup Final Specialist

Ever the man for the big occasion, Drogba's record in cup finals is extraordinary. Across his career the Ivorian scored ten goals in ten cup finals. Whether it was the League Cup, FA Cup, Champions League or even the Turkish Cup, Drogba was always deadly when his team needed him the most. 


The phrase 'big game player' gets banded about a lot these days, but Drogba certainly earned that moniker over his career. Incidentally, Drogba is also the top scorer in League Cup finals with four goals. 

9. African Legacy

There have been many talented African players to grace the Premier League; Yaya Toure, Kanu and Yakubu are just a few that immediately spring to mind, but Drogba was the best of the best. His 104 Premier League goals are the most scored by an African player in the competition's history, with Emmanuel Adebayor being his closest challenger on 97. 

8. Arsenal's Tormentor

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Didier Drogba scoring against Arsenal. 


Drogba was always in rare form against The Gunners, terrorising whichever back four he came up against and giving Arsenal fans nightmares for weeks on end. 


Drogba scored eight goals in 12 Premier League appearances against Arsenal (only Peter Crouch, Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney have more), as well as five more in cup competitions. He even netted against Arsenal for the MLS All-Star team in pre-season!

7. Chelsea's Record Signing

Drogba first caught the eye of then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho after an impressive 2003/04 campaign for Marseille which saw him score 32 goals. That was enough for the Portuguese manager who made Drogba one of his first signings at the club. 


At the time, the £24m Chelsea paid for Drogba was a club-record fee, although their current record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga cost almost three times as much. 

6. International Pedigree

Over the course of his career, Drogba became an icon in his native Ivory Coast. In a squad that contained the likes of the Toure brothers, Gervinho, and Salomon Kalou, Drogba was always the leader. 


He scored 65 goals in 104 international appearances over 12 years, making him Ivory Coast's all time top scorer. 

5. Ivory Coast's First World Cup

The Ivory Coast reached the first World Cup finals in their history in 2006, and unsurprisingly Drogba was a big part of the reason why. Drogba scored nine goals during qualification to send the side to Germany in 2006. 


Drogba also scored the country's first ever World Cup goal in their 2-1 defeat to Argentina. Although Ivory Coast were knocked out at the group stages, it still meant a lot to the country that they even qualified in the first place. 

4. Final Day Hat-Trick Clinches Title

Going into the last day of the 2009/10 season, Chelsea needed a victory to ensure the Premier League would return to Stamford Bridge rather than Old Trafford. Drogba himself went into the game a goal behind Wayne Rooney in the race for the Golden Boot. 


Chelsea emphatically dispatched WIgan Athletic 8-0, with Drogba scoring a hat-trick during the match. A Premier League winners' medal and a Golden Boot trophy isn't bad for an afternoon's work. 

3. Two Golden Boots

After Drogba settled into life in West London, he became one of the deadliest strikers in Europe. 


Drogba was able to secure two Golden Boots during his Premier League career. His first came in 2006/07 where he scored 20 goals, and his second came in 2009/10 after his 29 goal haul. 


He was also the first African player to win the award (Mohamed Salah has since joined him in that respect), and he is one of only seven players to win the award more than once, alongside Alan Shearer, Micheal Owen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Thierry Henry, Robin Van Persie and Harry Kane. 

2. Return to Chelsea

After a near perfect Chelsea farewell in 2012, Drogba spent time playing in China and then Turkey for Shanghai Shenhua and Galatasaray respectively. However when Jose Mourinho came calling in 2014, Drogba couldn't resist helping the club he loved one last time. 


Drogba received a hero's welcome and ended the season with seven goals and another Premier League winner's medal. 

1. Champions League Redemption

Didier Drogba's part in Chelsea's 2012 Champions League triumph was the stuff of fairytales. 


Four years earlier he was sent off in the final against Manchester United, meaning he couldn't take the fifth penalty that John Terry went on to miss. After helping drag the team through the semi-final against Barcelona, Drogba made his mark on the final. 


He scored the late equaliser to send the game to extra time, then with his last kick for the club he scored the penalty that won them the trophy. He righted his wrong from Moscow, and gave the Chelsea fans a night in Munich they would never forget.