As one of English football’s most recognisable teams, Chelsea have had some truly iconic players pulling on the blue shirt over the years. From club heroes such as Ron Harris and Peter Bonetti, right through to modern day fan favourites like Eden Hazard and John Terry, there have been some truly excellent players at Stamford Bridge through the years.
But, who is the best striker the West Londoners have been able to call upon? Well, we here at FFC Towers believe there’s only one candidate: Didier Drogba. Now 37 and playing in Major League Soccer with Montreal Impact, the veteran Ivory Coast hero is one of the games’ real trailblazers and his poster was featured on most young Chelsea supporters’ bedroom walls through the mid 2000s as he scored goal after goal. Need convincing that Drobga is Chelsea’s greatest?
Well here are FIVE points to back it up…
The only non-English player in Chelsea’s top ten goalscorers of all-time, Drogba comes in fourth with 164 efforts, leaving him behind only Frank Lampard, Bobby Tambling and Kerry Dixon. The achievements of ‘Lamps’ were superhuman, but, it could be argued, that the men in second and third spot were playing less competitive football in the 1960s and 1980s respectively. The fact Drogba adapted his game after coming in from abroad, played through, arguably, the strongest era of Premier League football and had to compete with star names to be in the XI lend credence to claims he’s the club’s greatest forward.
Cup Finals were Drogba’s scene. The Ivorian loves goals and he loves nothing more than scoring them when they really mattered. From winning efforts in League Cup and FA Cup matches when it mattered, ‘Drog’ scored his most important Chelsea effort from the penalty spot in the Champions League Final of 2012. The coolly struck, right-footed effort was the last kick of his first stint in London – he joined Shanghai Shenhua shortly after – and secured the iconic trophy for his side. Not bad, eh?
Although his passion for the Chelsea cause bubbled over during a particularly fraught Champions League clash with Barcelona once up on a time, it’s been clear to see through the years that the African star has been fully-committed to the Blues’ cause. From playing through the pain barrier to celebrating wildly after vital goals, at times he appeared to be a fan playing in the Chelsea shirt.
Signed in 2004 when the Roman Abramovich ‘open chequebook’ was a concept known to all, Drobga arrived around the same time as Jose Mourinho, which coincided with the club’s best era. Back-to-back Premier League titles followed, while domestic cups were won, and even when the ‘Special One’ went, Drogba stayed on to help the club to their first ever Champions League triumph. He even came back for last season’s title victory!
Building on the last point, Drogba’s return showed just how important he is in West London. Although his pace and power had waned, the veteran Ivorian still shone when given the chance and netted some vita goals, while his presence coincided with yet another title win. It just had to be!