I Love Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba is a striker for Ivory Coast and Chelsea in the English Premier League.  He uses his full height and strength to win the ball and hold it up for his team-mates, whilst he is also equally adept at turning his man and getting a quick-fire shot away.  He took some time to reach the top of his game, but is now regarded as one the best attackers in the world.  He led Ivory Coast into the 2006 African Nations final and 2006 World Cup in Germany, and is a key player for the ‘Elephants’.

Drogba was born on 11th March 1978, and had a troubled childhood.  He was initially brought up where he was born, in Abidjan, but was sent to live with his Uncle in France (also a professional footballer) when he was just five years old.  Didier struggled to settle, and moved back to the Ivory Coast some years later, before returning to Paris with his parents when he was 13.  He played for Levallois at youth level, but moved to study accountancy, and managed to sign up to the semi-professional Le Mans academy.

Training everyday and trying to study didn’t work very well for Didier, whose body wasn’t physically up to the demands of club football at 18.  Years in the Le Mans reserves and academy followed – many managers could see the potential in this tall Ivorian, but they all believed he needed more time to build his body up in order to become a real goal-threat.

Didier signed on as a full professional when he was 21 years old, and he was able to devote himself to football instead of his studies.  A season on the sidelines followed before Drogba was given an extended run in the first-team in 99/00, scoring 7 goals in the process.  A fall-out with the new first-team coach left him on the fringes of the squad, but Guingamp finally came to his rescue, and paid just £100,000 for him.

Drogba was now 24, and could be forgiven if he had given up his dream of playing at the highest level, but a stunning season for Guingamp – 17 goals in 34 games – prompted a £4m bid from Marseille, and Drogba was finally playing in Le Championnat.

From this point Drogba’s star rose dramatically, as Marseille took Europe by storm.  Drogba was closely watched all season, and his 18 goals secured him a move to the biggest and best league around, in England.

Chelsea signed Didier Drogba in July 2004 for £24m.  New manager Jose Mourinho put his faith in the new recruit, and the two instantly became more than just manager and player.  Drogba was installed into the first-team, and debuted against Manchester United on the opening day of the season – just three years after turning out for Le Mans!

His never-say-die attitude, hard-running work-rate, and habit of scoring important goals quickly won him favour with the fans.  He propelled Chelsea to the top of the league, and won the Premier League trophy twice under Jose.

Drogba has also courted controversy – he was one of the players who spoke publicly of his desire to leave when Jose Mourinho left, and has insisted he wants to return to France at various points in his Chelsea career.  He also admitted to diving, and was sent off for punching Nemanja Vidic in the face in Chelsea’s disappointing 2008 Champions League Final.

Didier Drogba only started to make an impact when he was 24 years old, so was not called up to the Ivory Coast youth teams.  He made his debut on 8th September 2002, and helped the ‘Elephants’ to become one of the best African sides.  They missed out in the 2006 African Nations to Egypt in the final, and stuttered similarly in the 2008 African Nations semi-finals, again falling to the Egyptians.  Drogba was a member of the 2006 World Cup team that marched into the second round, and has high hopes for South Africa 2010.

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