Featured Image Credit: PhxRisingFC.com
The rumors have been swirling for weeks…will Didier Drogba help write Arizona’s biggest soccer headline to date? Well, this afternoon – we got our answer! That’s right, folks, former Chelsea F.C. striker Didier Drogba is joining Phoenix Rising! Now, as a die hard Manchester United fan, this one might take me a bit to warm up to. Personal preferences aside, this is certainly the biggest thing to happen to Arizona soccer to date. Drogba comes to us off of a stint with MLS’s Montreal Impact for the past two seasons where he experienced some success, including being named a finalist for the 2015 MLS Newcomer of the Year Award. Attracting world-class talent is a tough job and it’s incredibly encouraging to see that the Phoenix Rising had the negotiation skills to get this deal inked.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. He’s 39 – well over the sport’s average retirement age of 35. Can he still play? After such a storied career I have to wonder if it even matters. His last season with the Montreal Impact was less than stellar (read: he didn’t bring the team their first MLS cup, as promised) but he’s still a very attractive player in the skills department. Perhaps his biggest contribution will come in the form of helping the younger and less experienced players develop. Tell me what you think about Drogba’s signing in our Phoenix Rising Forum.
As part of his historic signing, Drogba is not only coming to play for Phoenix Rising, but joining the ownership team as well. This makes him the first player-owner in soccer’s history, a remarkable milestone. After leaving Montreal Impact, and turning down an offer to go to a Brazilian soccer club, it seems that Drogba really was waiting for the perfect opportunity. Don’t just trust my assumption though, hear it from the man himself in a statement released by the club earlier today, “I have taken my time in deciding what I wanted to do next and am really excited about the opportunity at Phoenix Rising FC,” Drogba said. “After seeing first hand the potential for expansion of the sport in North America and getting to know the ownership group in Phoenix, I am convinced that I can help them develop their organization on and off the pitch.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of “The King”, we’ve got your covered. Visit our AZSoccer Calendar for all of the Phoenix Rising home games and all soccer happenings in Arizona.
Welcome to Phoenix, Drogba. We’re happy to have you!
Levallois 1993-97, Le Mans 1997-2002, Guingamp 2002-2003, Marseille 2003-2004,
Chelsea 2004-2012, Shanghai Shenhua 2012-2013, Galatasaray 2013-2014, Chelsea
2014-2015 and Montreal Impact 2014-2015
Ivory Coast: 106 appearances
Ivory Coast: 66 goals, Ivory Coast all-time top scorer
Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament: 2006, 2008 and 2012
Honors & Achievements:
UEFA Champions League title (1): 2011-2012
Premier League titles (4): 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10, 2014–15
FA Cup titles (4): 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12
League Cup (3): 2004–05, 2006–07, 2014–15
FA Community Shield (2): 2005, 2009
Süper Lig title (1): 2012–13
TFF Süper Kupa (1): 2013
Türkiye Kupası (1): 2013–14
Appearances in major finals: 22
African Footballer of the Year: 2006, 2009
BBC African Footballer of the Year: 2009
PFA Team of the Year: 2006-07, 2009-10
UNFP Player of the Year (France): 2004
Turkish Footballer of the Year: 2013
Ivory Coast Player of the Year: 2006, 2007, 2012
Chelsea’s Player’s Player of the Year: 2007
Chelsea Player of the Year: 2010
UEFA Team of the Year: 2007
FIFA/FIFPro World XI: 2007
Onze d’Or: 2004
African Cup top scorer: 2012
UEFA Cup top scorer: 2003-04
Ligue 1 Goal of the Year: 2003-04
Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2003-04
Ligue 1 Player of the Year: 2003-04
Premier League Golden Boot: 2007, 2010
Golden Foot: 2013
IFFHS Top Goal Scorer in the 21st Century
MLS All-Star: 2016
MLS Player of the Month: September 2015, October 2015
Time Top 100 Most Influential People in the World: 2010
Beyond Sport Humanitarian in Sport Award: 2011
British GQ Sportsman of the Year: 2012
GQ Turkey Man of the Year: 2013
Football Writers’ Association Tribute Award 2015
– Chelsea won the Premier League four times, with Drogba in the squad on each occasion.
– Drogba was named Premier League’s best-ever African player by Opta in 2015.
– Drogba was the first African player to win the Premier League Golden Boot.
– Drogba was the first African to score 100 Premier League goals.
– Drogba was the first African to score 50 goals in European competitions.
– Drogba scored 16 times in 16 games against Arsenal.
– Drogba scored 9 goals in finals for Chelsea – 4 x FA Cup finals, 4 x League Cup, 1 Champions League.
– Drogba is the only man ever to score in four separate FA Cup finals (all of which Chelsea won).
– Drogba scored 10 goals in major finals and won 17 trophies.
– Drogba was voted Chelsea’s greatest player of all time by their fans in 2012.
– Drogba is Chelsea’s fourth highest goal scorer in the clubs history.
– Drogba joined Montreal Impact in 2015 and became the first player in MLS history to score a perfect hat trick on his debut. He went on to score 12 goals in 14 MLS appearances in his debut season, winning Player of the Month for September & October.
– MLS Career: 37 games, 22 goals making Drogba Montreal Impact’s 3rd highest goal scorer of all time, winner of the club’s golden boot in 2015 and made history with the club reaching 2015 Eastern Conference semi-final and 2016 Eastern Conference final.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/27478478@N00/7233035828