Chelsea legend Didier Drogba will be presented with the 2020 UEFA President’s Award at Thursday’s Champions League draw.
The former Blues striker scored 164 goals in 381 appearances across two spells at Stamford Bridge, winning an array of silverware and individual honours, including four Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Champions League. It was that European triumph in 2012 which remains arguably his greatest achievement in football, as he scored our equaliser in the final against Bayern Munich before converting the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.
Those successes, as well as the Ivorian’s charitable work and role in inspiring a generation of African players to follow in his footsteps, are being recognised by UEFA at the draw for this season’s Champions League group stage.
‘To have won a Champions League, to have played and scored for my country at a World Cup – these are things I could only have dreamed of when I was a child,’ said Drogba, who is studying for a UEFA course in football administration, following a bid to become president of the Ivory Coast Football Federation.
‘There are so many children in the developing world who have the potential to become not only footballers, but also doctors, teachers and engineers. This is why it is so important to help and support our youngsters to let them fulfil their dreams and aspirations.’
Drogba will be presented with the award by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin during Thursday’s draw in Geneva, joining the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Eusebio and Johan Cruyff on the illustrious roll of honour.
‘Drogba is a hero to millions of football fans for his achievements throughout his glittering playing career,’ added Ceferin.
‘He is a leader, a pioneer. I will remember him as a player for his skill, strength and intelligence, but above all for his insatiable appetite to succeed – a trait which is just as present in his desire to help others off the field of play.
‘The UEFA Champions League has become the greatest club competition in the world, partly due to our clubs being able to attract the best players from around the world.
‘We have been lucky to have seen the likes of George Weah, Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba play at the very highest level. They in turn have blazed a trail for African footballers and have given inspiration to a whole new generation to look to follow in their footsteps.’
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