Top Drog: 5 classic Didier Drogba strikes as Chelsea legend retires (VIDEO)
Drogba first emerged on the professional scene in France at the relatively late age of 20, eventually finding his way to Marseilles after spells at Le Mans and Guingamp.
After just one season at on the Cote d-Azur – during which he netted 32 goals in 55 league games – he made a £24 million switch to Chelsea, the club where he would establish himself as one of the leading center forwards of his generation.
During two spells at Stamford Bridge – separated by a two-year period in China and Turkey – the big striker scored 164 goals in 381 games, clinching four Premier League titles as well as the 2012 Champions League.
He developed a particularly strong bond with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho – who fondly referred to Drogba as his “son” while on World Cup pundit duty with RT this summer.
Drogba made the move to Canada in 2015 as he entered the twilight of his career, joining MLS team Montreal Impact before switching to Phoenix Rising, where he is a co-owner and has finally called time on his playing career.
His international career was no less prolific, and saw him net 65 times in 105 games for the Ivory Coast, for whom he played in three World Cups.
Drog may have had his day – much to the disappointment of headline writers around the world – but we look back at five of his best moments in a glittering career.
MARSEILLE MAGIC (2004)
Drogba’s stay in the South of France was limited to one season, largely due to moments of magic such as this against Newcastle in the UEFA Cup which made him one of Europe’s hottest prospects.
The number 11 burst onto a through-ball before pulling off a chopped backheel to break free of the defender and then calmly slot into the net. His star was on the rise.
BARCA BLOCKBUSTER (2006)
Chelsea and Barcelona have clashed in some epic Champions League tussles down the years, and Drogba has often been at the heart of the action (controversially so in 2009 when he erupted at the referee following Chelsea’s controversial knockout stage defeat).
His most memorable strike against the Catalan giants came with a rocket at the Bridge in the group stage in 2006, when he turned and fired home unstoppably from the edge of the box to give the home team a 1-0 win.
THE DROGFATHER (2009)
It was only a pre-season friendly, but Chelsea’s game against AC Milan in the US in July 2009 brought out the best of the Blues’s forward with a 40-yard wonderstrike.
Far from the most important goal Drogba scored, but one of the most impressive.
TURKISH DELIGHT (2013)
Drogba’s time at Galatasaray in Turkey lasted a year and a half, but produced at least one highlight for the scrapbook from 2013.
Facing Spanish giants Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final second leg – and 3-0 down from the first game – the Turkish team almost staged a dramatic comeback against their Mourinho-managed opponents by taking a 3-1 lead on the night.
One of those goals came from a Drogba backheel that ranks among the more inventive goals the striker ever scored.
It proved in vain, however, as Real eventually pulled the score back to 3-2 late on to seal a spot in the semi-finals.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL HERO (2012)
Drogba’s crowning glory came in 2012 when he delivered one of the greatest performances ever seen in a Chelsea shirt during the Champions League final.
Trailing Bayern Munich 1-0 at the club’s Allianz Arena stadium after an 83rd-minute Thomas Muller goal, the London club looked set for yet more heartache after their 2008 loss to Manchester United in Moscow.
Drogba had other plans though, rising to score a thunderous header from a corner to rescue the Blues in the 88th minute.
He then went on to score the decisive spot-kick in the penalty shootout as Chelsea were crowned kings of Europe for the first time.