Former Marseille, Chelsea and Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba was named the recipient of the 2020 UEFA President's Prize on Tuesday. UEFA.com looks back on a brilliant playing career.
Drogba's finest hour: 2012 finals highlights
What they're saying
“Didier is a hero to millions of football fans for his accomplishments throughout his illustrious playing career. He is a pioneer leader. I will remember him as a player for his skills, strength and intelligence, but above all for his insatiable appetite for the game. to be successful is a trait that is also present in his desire to help others off the field of play. "
UEFA President Alexander Čeferin
“He is one of the few players who have the ball in their hands and score many goals. He has scored almost every second in his entire career. He is two types of attackers in one. "
Samuel It's & #039; Oh, former Barcelona, Inter and Chelsea striker
“Drogba did what all strikers should do, which is scoring in the biggest games. He scored three winners in the FA Cup final, scored decisive goals in two League Cup finals and who could forget what he did in Munich in the Champions League final. "At its best, it was unplayable."
Jamie Carragher, former Liverpool defender
“I've always seen Drogba as a role model for the center forward. Just watching his workouts helped me. Just seeing him, I was amazed. I watched Chelsea on purpose just to see Drogba. "
Diego Costa, Atlético forward
“Drogba sent me a message recently. I told him that I still follow all of his goals that he scored many years ago. "
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal forward
“Drogba is one of the best strikers I've seen. He had everything. The pace is really strong, good in the air; he was amazing. "
Gerard Piqué, Barcelona defender
“Without him, I would not have been able to achieve personal success at Chelsea, but the club would not have had titles in the leagues and leagues. He's always played big games. He was a monster in the locker room and a great friend away from football. It was an honor for me to play with him. "
Frank Lampard, former Chelsea midfielder and current coach
“I kept telling people, 'Someone please shoot Drogba? "Because his performances were incredible. I thought he was carrying their team and he kept scoring those incredible goals ... He's a powerful guy, massive physique. He has strength and he plays every game. "
Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of Manchester United
“There are many players with fantastic technique, but they are not leaders. They haven't made the most of their careers because they don't have a strong character, personality, or courage. All this you need no less than the technique. Didier has it all. When you find a player who has talent and is disinterested: hai vinto ... You won ".
Carlo Ancelotti, former Chelsea manager
National team : 106 matches, 65 goals
UEFA club competitions : 102 matches, 50 goals
European domestic competitions : 470 matches, 180 goals
Claims for fame
• Arriving in France at 15 to join his parents in Paris, Drogba played for the local club Lavallois under 18; the club is now playing at Didier Drogba's stadium, and the player says: "Having a stadium in France named after a footballer from Côte d'Ivoire & #039; Ivoire ... is an excellent proof of integration."
• He studied accounting at Le Mans when he started playing for them in Ligue 2, but was 21 when he signed his first professional contract in 1999 - the same year his eldest of three children was born with his wife Lalla ... “The birth of Isaac was a turning point in my life,” he said. "It corrected me."
• Helped Guingamp finish seventh best in Ligue 1 in 2002/03, scoring 17 goals after a successful partnership with Florent Malouda. He had a hard time after joining the club in the middle of the 2001/02 campaign, but in the summer of 2003 he was grabbed by Marseille.
• In his first season in Marseille, he reached the 2004 UEFA Cup final (his team lost 2-0 to Valencia), but 19 goals in Ligue 1 earned him the Player of the Year award from fellow professionals and 11 goals in Europe convinced him Chelsea pay hefty pay for him. Blues owner Roman Abramovich has clearly not heard of Drogba; Manager Jose Mourinho reportedly told him, "Pay and don't tell."
• His first season of the Blues was not the best, although his team won their first English title in 50 years, and Drogba scored in the League Cup final victory over Liverpool. He thought about returning to Marseille that summer, but Mourinho convinced him to redouble his efforts and his club won another league championship in the 2005/06 season.
• Won the Premier League Golden Boot, scoring 20 goals in 2006/07 and scoring a total of 33 goals this season, including two in the League Cup final against Arsenal and a victory over Manchester United in the Cup final England. a player will score on the winning side in both FA Cup Finals in the same season.
• Premier League top scorer (29): Chelsea won another title in 2009/10 and then scored again in the FA Cup final, beating Portsmouth.
• Scored his 100th Premier League goal in February 2012 - he was the first African player to reach 100 goals in the Premier League.
• Eliminated in the 2008 UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United (which his team lost on penalties), Drogba recovered in the 2012 decisive match against Bayern Munich, scoring in the 88th minute and winning a penalty shootout. Sir Alex Ferguson said: "As far as I understand, [Drogba] won the Champions League for Chelsea."
• His goal against Bayern Munich was his ninth goal in nine finals for Chelsea (three League Cups, four FA Cups, two UEFA Champions League); he remains the only player to score in three League Cup finals and also the only person to register in four FA Cup finals.
• Left Chelsea to join former teammate Nicholas Anelka at Shanghai Shenhua in the summer of 2012, but returned to Europe with Galatasaray the following January; he won the 2012/13 Super League and scored in another final - the winner of the 2013 Turkish Super Cup against Fenerbahce.
• Returned to Chelsea in July 2014 when Mourinho returned the team. “It was an easy decision,” Drogba said. “I couldn't refuse the opportunity to work with Jose Mourinho again. Everyone knows the special relationship that I have with this club, and it always felt at home. " In the 2014/15 season, he won his fourth England title for the club.
• Completed his Chelsea career as the club's top foreign scorer (164) and the player with the most goals in the UEFA Champions League for any English team (36). He continued to play in North America until the age of 40, scoring 34 goals in 54 league games with Montreal Impact and then Phoenix Rising. Finally announced his retirement in December 2018.
• African footballer in 2006 and 2009, he scored a record 65 international goals for Côte d'Ivoire & #039; Ivoire and played with them in three World Cups. He also led them to two Africa Cup of Nations finals, but they both lost on penalties.
What You May Not Know
• Drogba was sent to France to live with his uncle when he was only five years old, but only lasted a few years before returning to Abidjan. He recalled: “When I came to France, I cried every day. Not because I was in France - I could be anywhere - but because I was so far away from my parents. I missed them so much. "
• His eldest son Isaac is about to follow in his father's footsteps; once on the Chelsea roster, he currently plays at one of Didier's old clubs, Guingamp.
• Drogba played a role in bringing peace to his hometown Côte d'#039; Ivoire, serving as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program. He later said: "I have won many trophies in due time, but nothing will help to win the battle for peace in my country." He has done significant charitable work in Côte d'#039; Ivoire through the Didier Drogba Foundation.
• One of the great Africans, George Weah, encouraged Drogba to get involved in politics. Drogba supported Weah when he was about to become President of Liberia. Weah replied, “Thank you Didier for your support. We are both aware and aware of the fate of our people. We follow the same path. "
• Drogba played for a month in the 2010/11 season when (unknowingly) suffered from malaria; the striker looked out of sorts when he failed to register in four games, but the diagnosis was only made after fever prevented him from starting the match against Liverpool (and even then he came on as a substitute).
What he says
“When I first started out, I didn't think I would have such a long career. It was so fast - it went so fast. "
“The strongest defenders, I have never met them, but I played with them every week in training. When I met John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Alex, I was looking forward to the weekend. "
“I am honored to be a modern day center forward. Football has changed; you need to be fast, repeat runs, play many games. Fitness is the key to success. I've seen games in different leagues and you can see it. there have been changes. Forwards must defend, not only score goals, but also create goals. "
“When you have Mourinho, Ancelotti, all these managers and players like Frank Lampard, John Terry, Michael Ballack, Petr Cech, all these guys, you learn a lot. There are so many things you go through in the locker room, so when I ask management might be an option, why not? I think I could do well. "