Didier Yves Drogba Tébily (French pronunciation: [didje dʁɔɡba]; born 11 March 1978) is an Ivorian footballer who plays in the centre forward position. He currently plays for Chelsea in the Premier League, where he is deputy vice-captain, and is the captain and all-time top scorer of the Côte d’Ivoire national football team. He has scored more goals for Chelsea than any other foreign player and is currently Chelsea’s fourth highest goal scorer of all time. His key attributes include his physical strength, ability in the air, and his power to retain possession of the ball.
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; it was not until the 2002–03 season that he realized his potential, scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances in Ligue 1 for Guingamp. During the same season he made his first international appearance for Côte d’Ivoire, in September, and scored his first international goal the following February. He moved to Olympique de Marseille in 2003 for £3.3 million. His scoring success at Olympique de Marseille continued, finishing as the third highest scorer in Ligue 1 with 19 goals and helped the club to reach 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 Ivoirian player in history. In addition, he scored decisive goals in the 2005 Football League Cup Final and in the 2005 FA Community Shield 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 Côte d’Ivoire’s first ever goal of the competition and he was chosen as the 2006African 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 Football League Cup Final and FA Cup Finals. He won the FA Cup for the second time in 2009, scoring the equalizer in the final. In the 2009–10 season Drogba proved instrumental in Chelsea winning their first double in the club’s history. He won his second Golden Boot with 29 goals, and scored the only goal in Chelsea’s victory over Portsmouth in the 2010 FA Cup Final. He scored another goal in Chelsea’s victory over Liverpool in the2012 FA Cup Final. This goal makes him the only player to score in 4 FA Cup finals and 7 English Cup finals.
Drogba is credited with playing a vital role in bringing peace to his country. After Côte d’Ivoire 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. 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 lead to Drogba being named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine for 2010.
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