Drogba to leave Chelsea at end of season22/05/2012 - 15:18:30
Didier Drogba will leave Chelsea when his contract runs out at the end of June, the club have announced on their website.
The 34-year-old Ivory Coast international has spent eight years at Chelsea, scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances, and helped the Blues win 10 titles.
One of those titles was Saturday’s Champions League victory over Bayern Munich, where Drogba scored a late equaliser in normal time and then netted the winning kick in the penalty shoot-out.
Drogba has been a talisman for Chelsea, spearheading their drive for success and delivering crucial performances in the matches which mattered most.
The former Marseille forward, who has been linked with a lucrative move to China, maintained Chelsea would “always be in my heart.”
Drogba said on the club’s official website, www.chelseafc.com: “I wanted to put an end to all the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea.
“It has been a very difficult decision for me to make and I am very proud of what we have achieved, but the time is right for a new challenge for me.
“As a team we have accomplished so much and have won every single trophy possible.
“Saturday was a very special moment for everyone at the club and for all the fans, and I am very proud to have played my part in bringing many trophies to this club, which has been my home for the last eight years.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the club especially [owner] Roman [Abramovich] and my team-mates, many of whom have become very close friends and will be my friends for life.
“I would also like to say a very special thank you to the Chelsea fans who have shown me so much love and support over the years.
“I wish the club all the best and continued success for the future – you will always be in my heart.”
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