It says everything that within twenty minutes of Didier Drogba’s departure being announced on Chelsea’s official website that ‘#thanksDrogba’ was the top Twitter trending topic in the UK. We’ve been graced these past eight years by not just a fantastic footballer, by not just a match winner unlike any other in our club’s history, but also by a true gentleman. Remarkable goals, incredible skills, unforgettable goal celebrations, and trophy upon trophy. It’s no wonder that the feeling that we all needed to express was one of simple gratitude. A thank you for all the memories, a thank you for all the good times. It has been a privilege to watch the big man play in the Chelsea shirt. We’re thankful that he made history with us.
After the utter euphoria of Saturday night it feels like a much sadder moment to reflect on a Chelsea legend leaving the club. But what a way to leave. For a player that was too often vilified for his theatrics it’s fitting that he picks the most dramatic moment in the club’s history to bow out right at the very top. That his last kick of a football in a Chelsea shirt won us the most coveted prize of all was simply a perfect ending to a phenomenal time at the club. The statistics only tell a small part of the story. Fourth all-time highest scorer, the two golden boots, the record four FA Cup final goals, the 34 Champions League goals – the records speak for themselves. What we’ll remember are all the goals that propelled us to cup final wins, to doubles, to record breaking league titles and finally into the elite of European football. None of the silverware, none of the memories would have been possible without the Drog. We’ll remember that it was his goals that took Chelsea onto another level.
In those eight years we’ve signed some hugely talented strikers and yet it is always Didier who comes out on top. The likes of Gudjohnson, Crespo, Shevchenko and Torres reads like a who’s who of the world’s best forwards and yet each time Drogba fought for his place and each time ended up top dog. At a club with the spending power we have, and the managerial mayhem behind the scenes, that’s some achievement. We’ll all have a favourite Drogba goal but one thing that sticks in my mind, that no other observers other than us cared to see, was how much he cared about the club. Drogba’s first two seasons couldn’t be described as a runaway success and he was often rotated as the central striker. However he soon endeared himself to the faithful by geeing up the crowd during the warm-ups and by working so hard for the team. Sure the goals are impressive but so too was the effort when heading away a corner, juggling the ball to run down the clock and tackling at left back in the Camp Nou. What was often overlooked by many of his distracters Didier had superb leadership qualities at this club and was time and again the man that got Chelsea going. He’ll be missed at Chelsea in more ways than one. Didier, thanks for everything.
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