Superstar on and off the pitch
He’s been referred to as the “ultimate big game player and although he has retired from international football, Didier Drogba’s heart will always belong to his home country, the Ivory Coast. Many say he is the greatest African footballer of all time. As well being instrumental in Chelsea’s first premier league championship win after a 50-year drought (in his rookie season), he helped take them to a second title a year later. He was the first African player to score 100 Premier League goals, and has a career record of scoring 10 goals in 10 finals, as well as winning 10 trophies at club level.
But he is a winner off the pitch as well as on it. Through various charities and philanthropy projects, the football legend is focusing on rebuilding the education and healthcare systems in his home country.
Drogba is credited with playing a vital role in bringing peace to his country. After the Ivory Coast 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.
His other positive contributions include:
- In 2009, he announced he would be donating the £3 million signing on fee for his endorsement of Pepsi for the construction of a hospital in his hometown of Abidjan.
- In 2014, Drogba appeared in FIFA’s “11 against Ebola” campaign with a selection of top football players from around the world, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Gareth Bale and Xavi.
- As a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, Drogba has taken part in the annual Match Against Poverty alongside Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane. He has appeared in the 2012 and 2015 games.
- In 2018, Drogba, former AC Milan striker and current Liberia President George Weah, and teenage French prodigy Kylian Mbappé had a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and FIFA President Gianni Infantinoto discuss a sports development project in Africa.
- Levallois Sporting Club, the amateur club where Drogba began his career, used their percentage of his transfer fees to ensure the club’s survival, and improve their stadium to incorporate modern sports facilities for the benefit of the local community. They renamed the new stadium Stade Didier Drogba in his honour.