Former Chelsea and Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba has confirmed his retirement as a player.
The 40-year-old scored 164 goals in 381 appearances over two spells with Chelsea, helping them win the Premier League four times and the Champions League in 2012, as well as four FA Cup triumphs and three League Cup victories.
Drogba had been playing this season in the United States with Phoenix Rising, the second-tier club at which he is a co-owner.
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1989 or where it all started!! When I think of the last 20 years of my professional career, looking at this picture can’t make me more proud of what I’ve achieved as a player but most importantly how this journey as shaped me as a man. If anyone tells you your dreams are too big, just say thank you and work harder and smarter to turn them into reality. #alwaysbelieve I wanna thank all the players, managers, teams and fans that I have met and made this journey one of a kind!!! Also a huuuuge thank you and love to my family ♥️, my Personal Team for supporting me all my career during all the ups and downs no matter what. Looking forward to the next Chapter and hoping God will Bless me as much as he did for my football career 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾 DD11 1989 Là où tout à commencé !! Quand je pense aux 20 dernières années de ma carrière professionnelle, regarder cette photo de ma première licence, ne peut que me rendre plus fier de ce que j’ai accompli en tant que joueur mais plus important encore, comment cette aventure à fait de moi l’homme que je suis aujourd’hui. Si quelqu’un vous dit un jour que vos rêves sont trop grands, acquiescez et travaillez plus dur plus intelligemment pour les rendre réalité!!!! J’aimerai remercier tous les joueurs, coachs, équipes, et supporters, que j’ai rencontré et ont fait de cette carrière un moment très spécial. Un grand merci du fond du cœur à toute ma famille, mon « équipe personnelle » de m’avoir soutenu durant toute ma carrière, dans les bons comme dans les mauvais moments. Hâte de démarrer le prochain chapitre en espérant que Dieu me bénisse une fois de plus comme il l’a fait pendant toute ma carrière 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾 DD11 #Dunkerque #Abbeville #Tourcoing #Vannes #LevalloisPerret #Lemans #Guingamp #Marseille #Chelsea #Shanghai #istanbul #Montreal #phoenix @usldunkerqueofficiel @levalloisfootball @lemansfc.officiel @eaguingamp @olympiquedemarseille @chelseafc @shanghaishenhua @galatasaray @impactmontreal @phxrisingfc
The veteran forward had been expected to hang up his boots following the United Soccer League Cup final defeat to Louisville City earlier this month.
And confirmation arrived on Wednesday evening as Drogba posted a picture of him as a youngster on his social media accounts, accompanied by a farewell message.
He said: “When I think of the last 20 years of my professional career, looking at this picture cant make me more proud of what I’ve achieved as a player but most importantly how this journey has shaped me as a man.
Have a great week My People â¤ï¸🖤 pic.twitter.com/qtJnKMkZWO— Didier Drogba (@didierdrogba) November 5, 2018
“If anyone tells you your dreams are too big, just say thank you and work harder and smarter to turn them into reality. #alwaysbelieve
“I wanna thank all the players, managers, teams and fans that I have met and made this journey one of a kind!!!
“Also a huuuuge thank you and love to my family, my personal team for supporting me all my career during the ups and downs no matter what.
“Looking forward to the next chapter and hoping God will bless me as much as he did for my football career.”
Drogba played for Le Mans and Guingamp before joining Marseille, who he left for Chelsea in 2004 for a then club-record £24million deal.
He left Chelsea to join Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer of 2012, but six months later moved on to Galatasaray in Turkey before returning to Stamford Bridge in July 2014.
A move to Major League Soccer franchise Montreal Impact followed, which would later see the Ivory Coast forward stay in the US when taking up an opportunity in Phoenix.
Drogba continues to work with his foundation on projects in his homeland and across Africa, and could yet decide to start a coaching career.