Didier Yves Drogba Tébily (born March 11, 1978 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire) is footballer from Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) who currently plays for Chelsea F.C.
Didier Drogba moved to France at the age of five and started his career with Le Mans. He was used both in attack and defence in his early days at Le Mans, largely because of his height - he stands over 6'. However, Drogba found his home on the football pitch up front, using his height and excellent heading technique to impress at Le Mans. Having scored 7 goals in 42 appearances, he moved to Guingamp. After scoring just 8 goals in his first two seasons, he scored 17 in 34 games for Guingamp in 2002/3. This attracted the attention of France's larger clubs, and it was Olympique de Marseille who eventually signed him, for a reported £4 million.
Olympique de Marseille
Drogba came to prominence on the European stage for Marseille in the 2003/4 season, scoring 30 goals in all competitions. He scored 17 goals in Ligue 1 and 11 goals in the UEFA Cup as his side reached the final, though they lost to Valencia. He was voted French Player of the Year in the same season. Despite some impressive, match-winning displays in Ligue 1, it was Drogba's performances in the UEFA Cup that caught the eye of several of Europe's big clubs. Drogba's individual goal against Liverpool and another against Newcastle United in the latter stages of the tournament underlined his quality. After a long and protracted negotiation period, Marseille eventually sold him to Chelsea of England for around £25 million. He is also remembered for scoring a perfect hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League (Left foot, right foot, header)
Drogba became Chelsea's then record-signing in July 2004 and adapted well to the Premier League, scoring in his third game for the club with a thunderous header against Crystal Palace. His season was interrupted when he pulled a stomach muscle against Liverpool, which kept him out of action for over two months. Despite this he enjoyed the second best goals-to-minutes ratio in the Premier League, prolific Frenchman Thierry Henry being the only player to better him in this respect. He scored 16 goals in 40 games for Chelsea in his first season, but was criticized for being inconsistent.
The season proved very successful for Chelsea as they won the Premiership and the Carling Cup, with Drogba scoring in extra time in a 3-2 final win against Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium. He played an important part in his team's run to the semi-finals of the Champions League, where he scored a brace against ex-club Marseille's arch-rivals Paris Saint-Germain and another two goals in both legs of the quarter-final against Bayern Munich.
He made an impressive start to the 2005/6 season, scoring two goals in a Community Shield win over Arsenal and putting in a man-of-the-match performance in a 4-1 win against Liverpool at Anfield.
Drogba is a Côte d'Ivoire international and helped the team qualify for its first ever World Cup Finals, to be held in Germany in 2006. In February 2005 he was voted runner-up to Samuel Eto'o in the African Footballer of the Year awards.