Key former player Thu 30 Oct 2014
Didier Drogba scored 157 goals in 341 appearances in his first eight-year spell at Chelsea and added another seven in 40 when he returned for one more season, cementing his place as the club's fourth all-time highest scorer. His 36 goals in European competition is a Chelsea record and his incredible nine strikes in nine cup finals contributed immensely to the most successful period in the club's history.
He won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and, in the most dramatic and glorious of circumstances, the Champions League. He was named Chelsea's Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year and won the Premier League Golden Boot twice.
During his Chelsea career he had a very good claim to be called the world's finest centre-forward.
Drogba made his Chelsea debut in August 2004 and as the Blues romped to back-to-back league titles in 2005 and 2006, breaking all manner of records along the way, he became an essential component in Jose Mourinho's well-oiled machine.
The arrival of Andriy Shevchenko in 2006 might have led to the Ivorian falling down the pecking order, but instead it brought out the best in him. He netted 33 times that season and in the final game of the campaign began his love affair with the new Wembley, scoring the winner against Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
The 2009/10 season, under Carlo Ancelotti, saw the Blues make history by winning the Premier League and FA Cup Double for the first time in our history, and Drogba scored 37 goals in all competitions, the second highest seasonal total in the club's history.
Strikers come in all shapes and sizes; from players who rely on their predatory instincts, to target men who hold the ball up and bring teammates into the game. The beauty of Drogba during his years at Chelsea was he ticked all the boxes.
In the historic 2011/12 season it was Drogba with a diving header who began the remarkable second-leg fight back against Napoli in the Champions League and it was he who scored the home goal against Barcelona to give us a foothold in the semi-final. Having scored the goal that ultimately proved the winner in the FA Cup Final against Liverpool, his contribution to the Champions League final in Munich was truly the stuff of legends.
He put the happy ending at risk when returning after two seasons away and was reunited with Mourinho. However he proved to be vital striker support to Diego Costa and scored important goals at Old Trafford, at home to Spurs and not least a vital equaliser at Leicester in the run-in to another league title. He was chaired off the pitch by his team-mates at the end of his final appearance.