Chelsea like to put on a show for their departing legends.
You might remember that John Terry’s final game for the Blues was marked in rather unsubtle style when he was substituted in the 26th minute of a Premier League clash with Sunderland.
The Chelsea icon became famous for wearing the No. 26 jersey in west London and subsequently left the pitch in the corresponding minute as part of a stunt that was pre-agreed with David Moyes.
Special departures for Chelsea legends
Once the ball was put out of play at the right moment, Chelsea players formed a guard of honour so that their departing captain could be given the grandest possible conclusion to his time at the club.
However, what if we were to tell you that Terry’s departure wasn’t even the first time that a club legend’s exit was marked by a dramatic first-half substitution in a league tie with Sunderland.
As far-fetched as that might sound, it’s exactly what happened just two seasons earlier when the curtain was drawn on Didier Drogba’s second spell in the famous blue jersey.
Drogba’s last game at Chelsea
Despite having ended his first Chelsea stint in the most dramatic way possible by securing the Champions League title, he wasn’t necessarily given the chance for a proper goodbye with the fans.
As such, once that could be guaranteed next time around on the back of a one-season comeback under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea made sure that Drogba’s historic departure didn’t just pass them by.
Drogba started what proved to be a 3-1 win over the Black Cats so that he could sport the captain’s armband on his final appearance, before – much like Terry – being substituted in the first half hour.
Drogba’s final minute as a Chelsea player
In fact, not only was Drogba hooked in the 30th minute so that he could enjoy his moment in the sun, but his Chelsea teammates lifted him off his feet to make his exit even more celebratory.
Marry that to Drogba then saluting each side of Stamford Bridge before eventually coming off for Diego Costa and it marked one of the most surreal substitutions in Premier League history.
So, regardless of whether you find it beautiful or over-congratulatory, there’s no denying that it was a fittingly dramatic exit for a man who provided so much joy for Chelsea. Check it out down below:
You know you’re an icon when you’re ending your time at a club like that.
Beautiful or over the top?
It’s hard not to feel even slightly awkward when Drogba is held aloft as the first-half clock is still casually ticking away, but it’s not as though it was doing anybody any harm.
Just as Sunderland had already been relegated when Terry was given his special goodbye, the Black Cats had dodged the drop before kick-off with Burnley, Hull City and QPR going down.
Plus, the substitution proved to be a good move for Chelsea with Costa scoring just seven minutes after coming on to level the scores with Sunderland having actually taken the lead at the Bridge.
The Blues eventually swaggered their way to a 3-1 victory with Drogba getting his hands on the Premier League trophy to make his final game for Chelsea taste even sweeter.