The Montreal Impact announced on Monday that the club has acquired Ivorian striker and Designated Player Didier Drogba, in a trade with the Chicago Fire, in return for general and targeted allocation money. He will officially join the roster upon receiving his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and his Canadian work permit. As per MLS policy, details of the deal have not been released.
Drogba, 37, played 381 games with English giant Chelsea FC between 2004 and 2012, and during the 2014-15 season, ranking fourth all-time with 164 goals, adding 88 assists. The Ivorian player is also one of the best strikers in English Premier League history with 104 goals and 63 assists in 254 games, all played with the Blues. He helped the London club win four Premier League titles (2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10, 2014–15), four FA Cup titles (2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12) and three League Cup titles (2004–05, 2006–07, 2014–15).
“It’s an honour to welcome Didier Drogba to the Impact,” said Impact President Joey Saputo. “From the first conversation I had with him, I felt that he really wanted to play in Montreal. This is one of the biggest days in club history and his arrival to the club will be beneficial in every aspect.”
“He’s had an impact on millions of people since the start of his career and he will continue to do so wearing the Impact colours,” added Vice-President, International Relations & Technical Development Nick De Santis. “A player of his magnitude can only help grow our club. He’s been a leader, a winner and a champion throughout his career.”
“We are very excited and thrilled to add to our roster a player with an exceptional career,” said Technical Director Adam Braz. “He’s demonstrated his qualities as a striker at the highest level in Europe. His instinct in front of the goal, his experience and his leadership are all attributes that will help the team on the field.”
He won the Premier League Golden Boot twice, following seasons of 20 goals in 2006-07 and 29 goals in 2009-10.
Drogba also has tallied 44 goals and 16 assists in 92 UEFA Champions League games, six goals in eight UEFA Cup games, 12 goals in 29 FA Cup games and 10 goals in 20 League Cup games.
Drogba added to his English football legend status when he scored the tying goal and the winning penalty kick that gave the Blues their first ever UEFA Champions League title, in 2011-12 against Bayern Munich, in which he was named Player of the Game.
Career debuts in France
After developing through the youth systems of Abbeville, Vannes and Levallois, Drogba made his professional debut in Ligue 2 with Le Mans in 1998. He then played his first season in the French first division with EA Guingamp in 2002, and played one season with Olympique de Marseille before leaving for England. He scored 39 goals in 80 Ligue 1 games and was named Player of the Year in 2003-04.
Drogba also scored eight goals in 11 games with Chinese Premier League side Shanghai Shenhua, as well as 20 goals and 13 assists in 53 games with Turkish club Galatasaray SK. He won the Süper Lig championship in 2012-13 and the Turkish Cup in 2013-14.
Impressive international career
At the international level, Drogba played 105 games with the Ivory Coast National Team between 2002 and 2014, concluding his career as the Elephants all-time scorer with 65 goals, while also finishing in third place for most appearances. As captain of the team, he took part in three FIFA World Cups (2006, 2010 & 2014) and five Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. He announced his retirement from international soccer on August 8, 2014, after playing his final game on June 24 against Greece during the FIFA World Cup.
He was named the African Footballer of the Year in 2006 and 2009, as well as the Ivory Coast Player of the Year in 2006, 2007 and 2012.
A new nine-game package at Stade Saputo will be available starting at $150 through impactmontreal.com or by calling 514-328-3668. Special pricing for groups of 10 or more may be purchased by calling the same number. It’s also possible to buy individual tickets for the upcoming games online at any time or at Stade Saputo, from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.
Weight: 177 lbs.
Birthdate: March 11, 1978, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Citizenship: Ivory Coast
Last club: Chelsea FC (England)
Acquired: July 27, 2015