Didier Drogba confirms Chelsea exit after eight years with Blues
Didier Drogba confirms he will leave Chelsea in June after eight successful years at Stamford Bridge
Didier Drogba has confirmed he will leave Chelsea when his contract expires this summer.
The news comes after months of speculation over the 34-year-old Ivory Coast striker’s future and just four days after he slotted home the winning penalty that secured the Blues’ first Champions League crown in Munich.
“I wanted to put an end to all the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea,” he told Chelsea’s website.
“It has been a very difficult decision for me to make and I am very proud of what we have achieved but the time is right for a new challenge for me.”
Drogba, who spent eight years at Stamford Bridge, leaves the Londoners as the club’s fourth-highest all-time goal scorer with 157 goals to his name.
He continued: “As a team we have accomplished so much and have won every single trophy possible.
“Saturday was a very special moment for everyone at the club and for all the fans, and I am very proud to have played my part in bringing many trophies to this club, which has been my home for the last eight years.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the club especially Roman [Abramovich] and my team-mates, many of whom have become very close friends and will be my friends for life.
“I would also like to say a very special thank you to the Chelsea fans who have shown me so much love and support over the years.
“I wish the club all the best and continued success for the future – you will always be in my heart.”
It had been reported that Chelsea were unwilling to offer Drogba the two-year contract extension he was holding out for. The striker has been heavily linked with a move to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay added: “We have known for some time that this outcome was likely but Didier and the club only made a final decision on that in the last couple of days, because for obvious reasons neither Didier nor the club wanted to distract focus away from the Champions League final.
“The talks were amicable all the way through and we wish him all the best for the future. He is welcome back to Stamford Bridge at any time – either as a player or as a guest of ours.”