Ivory Coast and Chelsea great Didier Drogba announced his retirement on Wednesday after a 20-year career. The 40-year-old scored 164 goals in 381 appearances for Chelsea, winning four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the 2012 Champions League, while he is also Ivory Coast’s all-time record goalscorer with 65. He spent the last 18 months of his career with US side Phoenix Rising, the club he co-owns. “I wanna thank all the players, managers, teams and fans that I have met and made this journey one of a kind,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter.
“If anyone tells you your dreams are too big, just say thank you and work harder and smarter to turn them into a reality.”
Drogba did not play top-flight football until the age of 23, when French side Guingamp signed him from Ligue 2 Le Mans in January 2002.
He moved to Marseille 18 months later – and the following year completed a reported 24 million pound move to Chelsea, where he had the best spell of his career.
He won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2006-07 and 2009-10, netting 104 times in the English top flight in total, and also scored a dramatic late equaliser when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the Champions League final six years ago.
Drogba played club football in six different countries in total, with the majority of his success coming in France and England.
Drogba then spent six months with Shanghai Shenhua and a year and a half with Galatasaray before returning to Chelsea.
He scored seven goals in 2014-15, winning a fourth Premier League title and a third League Cup, leaving the club as their fourth highest scorer of all time.
Drogba’s last game was Phoenix’s 1-0 loss to Louisville City in the USL Cup final on November 8.