Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is poised to announce his retirement from football over the coming weeks, with a view to taking up a coaching role at Stamford Bridge.
The planned signing of Croatia international Andrej Kramaric from Rijeka - which is expected to be finalised this month - is one of the factors behind Drogba’s decision to hang up his boots, according to a report from the Express.
Drogba rejoined Chelsea last summer following a two-year spell away from Stamford Bridge and has scored six goals in 22 appearances for Jose Mourinho’s side this season, including one against Manchester United at Old Trafford in October.
Drogba's career coming to an end
But the Ivory Coast icon, who turns 37 in March, is back-up to first-choice striker Diego Costa and knows his playing career is coming towards its inevitable conclusion.
One of the greatest strikers of the Premier League era, Drogba scored a magnificent 100 league goals in 226 appearances for Chelsea during his first spell with the club, winning three Premier League titles in the process.
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He also won the FA Cup on four occasions, the League Cup twice and famously scored the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final shoot-out against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena - what looked to have been his final kick for the club.
But Drogba was lured back to the Bridge following spells with Shanghai Shenhua and Galatasaray, with whom he won the Turkish Super Lig in 2013, by influential manager Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho is expected to find a new role for Drogba at Chelsea. The vastly-experienced striker has plenty to offer as a coach and may be asked to help the next generation of talented Blues’ forwards realise their potential.
Trophies up for grabs
Drogba will hope to finish his Chelsea career with another Premier League winners’ medal. The west London outfit are currently joint-top of the table, alongside Manchester City, but will need to bounce back from their comprehensive 5-3 defeat to Tottenham on New Year’s Day over the coming weeks.
And the African football legend may also be dreaming about the possibility of winning another Champions League winners’ medal in his final - final - match with the Blues this year. Chelsea take on French champions Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16, which gets underway next month.