The Drogba Years: Ten Memorable Occasions

The news has been confirmed, Didier Drobga will leave Chelsea at the end of the season. The Ivorian’s future at Stamford Bridge had been subject to much speculation since the club’s refusal to offer him the two year contract he required to stay. And now, having fired Chelsea to Champions League glory, he will move on after eight fantastic years. To remember the Drog, here are 10 of his more memorable moments (not all of them good)!

DROGBA’S BLUNDERS

10. Champions League 2009 vs Barcelona

Chelsea stood on the brink of knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League semi-final in 2009, but Andres Iniesta scored a priceless away goal that ended the Blues’ hopes for another year. However, Chelsea’s fury was aimed at Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, whose performance Gus Hiddink later described as one of the worst ever. Drogba, as per usual, was most vocal in his criticisms, shouting ‘it’s a f*****g disgrace at TV cameras when he came off the pitch. Four match ban for that then Didier.

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9. Champions League Final 2008 vs Manchester United

Chelsea and Manchester United were locked at 1-1 in Moscow in extra time with the Champions League at stake. With tensions rising, a fracas broke out on the pitch. However, Drogba showed his petulant side, slapping Nemanja Vidic in the face (brave call!) and receiving a red card. His side missed his presence in the shootout, as John Terry hit the post with the chance to win the game.

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8. Premier League 2007 vs Arsenal

While Didier was undoubtedly a special player, he became somewhat of a hate figure for opposition fans for his on-field theatrics. However, the one that really springs to mind was him and Jens Lehmann’s ‘dive-off’ after a clash in the Premier League. Oscar winning and utterly disgraceful.

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DROGBA’S HEROICS

7. Premier League 2007 vs Everton

As Chelsea struggled to keep up with Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table, they could barely afford to drop points. However, the Blues visited GoodisonPark where a resolute Everton side held them till the 87th minute at 2-2. Step forward Drogba with arguably his best goal for the club. 35 yards out, the Ivorian let rip with a half-volley that flew past Tim Howard and kept his side in touch at the top.

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6. FA Cup 2012 vs Tottenham

Neither Chelsea or Spurs had yet to register in the FA Cup semi-final in a season-defining match for both clubs. However, Drogba proved the difference, controlling a long ball and turning his marker before lashing the ball high into the top left hand corner. The Blues went onto to win 5-1 and Drogba had scored yet again at the home of English football.

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5. FA Cup 2010 vs Portsmouth

Another Wembley appearance, another Wembley winner from the Drog. While no one expected Portsmouth to ever run Chelsea close, they proved tricky opponents. Kevin Prince Boateng missed the opportunity to put his side into the lead from the spot and Drogba made him pay three minutes later, bagging a free kick to help Carlo Ancelotti’s men complete the double.

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4. FA Cup Final 2012 vs Liverpool

Chelsea were cruising at 1-0 after Ramires’s opening goal and once Drogba doubled the lead, finishing neatly just before the hour mark, it seemed as if Chelsea had sealed the win. However, Liverpool produced a stirring fightback, inspired by Andy Carroll, and in the end, Drogba’s goal, his fourth in an FA Cup final, proved to be the winner.

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3. Champions League 2012 vs Barcelona

No one gave Roberto Di Matteo’s side a chance in hell of beating Europe’s supposed best over two legs in the Champions League semi-final. To stand any chance in the Nou Camp, Chelsea had to win at Stamford Bridge. Drogba’s tireless work rate and ability to hold the ball up proved crucial, but he provided the only goal as well, turning home a Ramires cross to set up the now infamous second leg victory.

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2. FA Cup Final 2007 vs Manchester United

Manchester United and Chelsea seemed to have battled each other into submission in the first Cup Final held at the new Wembley as neither side could find the breakthrough and the match seemed destined for a penalty shootout. Drogba had other ideas though, playing a one-two with Frank Lampard before poking past Van der Sar to seal victory with four minutes remaining.

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1. Champions League Final 2012

With Chelsea one down in Munich, the Blues won a corner with two minutes left on the clock. Having barely registered a shot all game, their chances of recovery looked slim. However, from Juan Mata’s corner, the big man rose highest of them all to nod a stunning equaliser beyond Manuel Neuer. Drogba’s influence didn’t end there either. Faced with the decisive spot kick in the shootout, Drogba personified calmness as he slotted the ball home to seal the greatest triumph in Chelsea’s history.

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