Ivorian star Didier Drogba said Tuesday he’s leaving Chelsea Football Club at the end of June when his contract expires after eight years with the club, which won the UEFA Champions League title May 19th in Munich, Germany.
In a statement at Chelsea’s website, the 34-year-old Drogba said: “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 won every single trophy possible.”
Drogba’s biggest trophy came in Munich, where he played a huge role in Chelsea’s first-ever European title. He scored the equalizer in the 88th minute against host Bayern Munich, to take Chelsea into extra time and then a penalty kick shootout. And then the muscular striker scored the winning penalty kick in Chelsea’s 4-3 penalty shootout victory.
Drogba delivered 157 goals in 341 appearances for the West London club, and his 34 goals in European competition is a Chelsea record. The two-time African Footballer of the Year also won three English Premier League titles, four English F.A. Cups and two Carling League Cups.
He says holding the trophy in Munich, after losing in the UEFA Champions League final four years earlier in Moscow, was a crucial moment in deciding to leave Chelsea. “I think winning the final was the key,” says Drogba, “and not me scoring the winning penalty but winning the game I think was the turning point. I think it’s the best time to move on.”
Didier Drogba’s next move may be China, where he reportedly would join former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka with the club Shanghai Shenhua.