Didier Drogba’s illustrious career in professional football has finally come to an end.
The legendary Ivorian striker has hung up his boots at the age of 40 following Phoenix Rising’s 1-0 defeat against Louisville City in the USL Cup final on Thursday night.
Drogba helped Phoenix reach the final by scoring three goals in three matches - including a magnificent free-kick in the team’s post-season opener - but, unfortunately, was unable to help his final club lift the trophy.
Luke Spencer’s second-half strike for Louisville was the only goal of the game at the Mark & Cindy Lynn Soccer Stadium in Kentucky.
Drogba, who scored 10 goals in 14 games during his debut season in USA’s second tier before netting five goals in nine regular season games this term, still bows out of football with an impressive collection of winners’ medals.
During his remarkable 20-year playing career, Drogba won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, two Premier League Golden Boots and, of course, the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea.
Away from Stamford Bridge, he also won the Turkish Super Lig, the Turkish Cup, Turkish football’s Player of the Year award, and two African Player of the Year awards.
During his final match, Drogba proved that even at the age of 40 he could still produce moments of quality. Check this out…
However, Drogba truly showed his class after the final whistle.
Footage from Phoenix Rising’s Twitter account shows Drogba applauding the fans, before shouting to his teammates: “Come, guys, come!”
He then walks over to the club’s supporters and consoles them following the defeat.
Drogba can be heard telling one fan: “Don’t cry, huh? It’s alright. Don’t cry.”
He then tells another: “Hey, thank you for everything.”
Because Drogba went over first and encouraged his teammates to do the same, Phoenix Rising’s fans got a rare opportunity to meet the players up close.
This must have been a real consolation on what was obviously a very disappointing night for them.
You can watch the beautiful moment here…
Absolute class from Drogba. This is footage which really does sum the guy up.
Football will miss him.
Thank you, Didier.