Didier Drogba has become the first African footballer and the second former Chelsea great to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
The Ivorian was selected by supporters, who voted in an online poll, and the Premier League Awards Panel. Drogba has been recognised for a stellar career representing the Blues for nine seasons between 2004 and 2015, earning a reputation as one of the league’s most dangerous strikers capable of destroying any defence on his day. He amassed 104 goals in 254 league appearances for the London giants.
DROGBA SAID: ‘IT IS A REAL HONOUR FOR ME TO HAVE BEEN INDUCTED INTO THE PREMIER LEAGUE HALL OF FAME. MY YEARS WITH CHELSEA WERE SO SPECIAL TO ME, AND I’M INCREDIBLY PROUD OF EVERYTHING WE WON AS A TEAM.
‘I PLAYED WITH FANTASTIC PLAYERS FOR SOME AMAZING MANAGERS AND AGAINST BRILLIANT OPPONENTS. I’M SO HAPPY TO SAY THAT I WON THE PREMIER LEAGUE FOUR TIMES – AND NOW I’M IN THE HALL OF FAME WITH SOME OF THOSE GREAT PLAYERS I PLAYED ALONGSIDE AND AGAINST, WHICH MAKES ME VERY PROUD.’
Drogba, who follows Frank Lampard into the Hall of Fame, made his Chelsea debut in August 2004. As the Blues romped to back-to-back league titles in 2005 and 2006, breaking all manner of records along the way, he became an essential component in Jose Mourinho’s well-oiled machine.
The arrival of Andriy Shevchenko in 2006 might have led to the Ivorian falling down the pecking order, but instead it brought out the best in him. He netted 33 times that season, with his 20 Premier League goals ensuring he finished as the division’s top goalscorer for the first time. He would repeat the trick in 2009/10, bagging a remarkable 29 Premier League goals as Chelsea won the Double for the first time in the clubs history.
When he returned to Chelsea in 2014/15, Drogba helped the team win the title again with crucial strikes against Manchester United, Tottenham and Leicester. It was his fourth Premier League crown in all and provided a fitting finale to his illustrious and trophy-laden Chelsea career.