Didier Drogba has been presented with a Barclays Spirit of the Game Award for his charity work with the Didier Drogba Foundation in Africa.
Through his successful exploits on the field and his tireless charity work off it, Drogba hopes to inspire the next generation of footballers in the UK and Africa to fall in love with the game.
The video above meets Zebeto, a young boy growing up in the Ivory Coast who has been inspired by Drogba and dreams about following his hero into the Barclays Premier League. The Chelsea striker aims to help people like Zebeto achieve their dreams through the Didier Drogba Foundation, by contributing financial and material support in education and health. The Foundation has provided bags for Zebeto, his school friends and hundreds of other children, and has also built a medical clinic in his hometown of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which will be opening its doors later this year.
Drogba said: ‘I come from a poor family where I played football in the streets with my friends with no shoes, there was no grass but we still enjoyed it. There is nothing better than when you see a kid with a smile on his face and that is why I’m trying to help. I want to do a lot of things in Africa, I want to give people the chance to dream, and it is easier to dream when you are in good health and happy.’
As well as donating all his commercial and sponsorship earnings, Didier recently helped to raise £400,000 for the Foundation at a charity ball attended by team-mates including Petr Cech, Eden Hazard, Bransilav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Juan Cuadrado, Nemanja Matic and John Terry. The money raised will be used to complete the medical clinic in Abidjan and help finance mobile clinics that will travel outside of the capital to those who are either too sick or too poor to make the journey to the centre.
Barclays are giving supporters the chance to win tickets to their favourite team every week via the Barclays Spirit of the Game website. They will also once again be giving away more than 8,000 tickets to local communities in partnership with Barclays Premier League clubs.