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|Taken from Talk Chelsea|
Back in June 2004, a 26 year old striker named Didier Drogba joined Chelsea from Olympique Marseille for £24 million. The expectation was high on both Chelsea and the young Ivorian as he was in demand after an excellent season with the French side, in which he helped them to the 2003/04 season’s UEFA Cup. Chelsea knew they had a player with potential, but how much potential, went beyond what most fans could ever imagine.
His 2004/05 season was a mixed one for the powerful centre forward. He showed some flashes of brilliance as he helped Chelsea to both the Premier League and the Carling Cup but he also struggled with injuries and some Chelsea fans became frustrated with Drogba’s attitude and he got a reputation as somewhat of a diver. All in all, Drogba scored 16 goals in 41 appearances in a blue shirt during the season.
The season after, the idea that Drogba was a diver became more widespread and many Chelsea fans wondered whether if he’d ever improve enough to reach his full potential. However, he again showed flashes of the form he displayed at Marseille. He scored 16 goals in 41 games again.
Although Chelsea didn’t win the league like they did in Drogba’s first two seasons, the 2006/07 campaign was undoubtedly Drogba’s best. During the vast majority of Chelsea’s games, Drogba looked almost like a man possessed.
He added his name to Chelsea’s history books with the winning goal in that season’s FA cup final against Manchester United. The season saw a marked improvement in Drogba as he scored 33 goals in 60 games.
The season after wasn’t quite as good for Drogba as he struggled to cope with the departure of Jose Mourinho and controversially got sent off in Chelsea’s unsuccessful champions league final match with Manchester United. However, on his day Drogba was still unstoppable.
The season after was, again, plagued by controversial moments including his frosty relationship with Luiz Felipe Scolari and his reaction to Chelsea’s semi final exit to Barcelona. But when Guus Hiddink became Chelsea’s manager in February, Drogba was back to his best.
New manager Carlo Ancelotti forged a very close relationship with Drogba and this showed as Drogba’s goals earned Chelsea their first premier league title in four years and earned Drogba the golden boot thanks to his 29 league goals. The season after wasn’t quite as good for Drogba or Chelsea, as he only scored 13 goals.
In a season where his place was threatened by Fernando Torres, many felt it would be Drogba’s least fulfilling yet. Yet they couldn’t be more wrong as Drogba played an integral role in Chelsea’s very first Champions League title triumph, a trophy Chelsea had been chasing since Drogba joined the club.
His slotting home of the winning penalty in that final will secure his place as one of Chelsea’s greatest ever.
So thanks Didier, you have become a Chelsea legend. Also, your immense humility and devotion to improving conditions in your home country make you a great human being also.
On behalf of every Chelsea fan, thank you.
Written by Joshua Sodergren
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