FOOTBALL – DIDIER DROGBA SAYS GOODBYE TO CHELSEA

Yesterday Didier Drogba announced that he would be leaving Chelsea Football Club.

Who is Didier Drogba?  He was Chelsea Football Club’s striker and hero.  If, like me, you don’t know much about strikers or football try this for a story.

Chelsea Football Club is 107 years old and has never won the Champions League, or at least it hadn’t until last week and that came as a big surprise.

Everyone within earshot of a teenage boy probably knows that Barcelona are Europe’s football giants – no-one can touch them, not even England’s finest, and England’s finest, according to most pundits, are not Chelsea.

The thing is Chelsea have just turned football on its head.  This team with its caretaker manager (the real one got fired just months ago) has managed to beat Barcelona.  The man who scored for Chelsea when the teams met in London this April was Didier Drogba.  The result stopped football short – Chelsea 1 to Barcelona’s 0.  Belief was born.

Slowly ripples of interest began to spread beyond Chelsea’s fans.  A British underdog team was heading to Germany to take on the mighty FC Bayern Munich in their own Allianz Arena.  Bayern had won the Champions League four times – Chelsea never.  Bayern had been runners-up five times – Chelsea once.

The teams met on the 19th of May in front of 66,000 fans.  The German majority spread their banners out early:  “our city”, “our stadium”, “our cup”.  All true except the third – Chelsea made sure of that but only just.

Bayern were heading to a 1-0 victory when, just minutes before what should have been the final whistle, Didier Drogba scored to equalise, forcing the game into extra time and then to penalties.

Bayern’s first penalty thumped passed Petr Cech.  Chelsea’s first penalty attempt was a failure.  The odds looked impossible.  Bayern Munich was like a shoot-out machine.  So confident was their goalie Manuel Neuer that he even had the nerve to stroll out and take a penalty shot for his team.  It slammed home and should have sealed the game … but it didn’t.

Cech held his nerve.  Slowly Chelsea climbed back up the scoreboard.  The team who had refused to give up against Barcelona refused to give in to Bayern.  The score heart-stopped to 3-3.  Step forward Didier Drogba.

Drogba was given the chance to win this season’s Champions’ League trophy for Chelsea.  All he had to do was kick a small ball into a not-very-big net, guarded by one of the world’s greatest goalies, in front of the thousands deep German end of the Allianz Arena.

The man from the Ivory Coast strolled forward … and did.

So that is Didier Drogba – the man written forever into the history of Chelsea Football Club.

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