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Didier Drogba: coaching, American dream on agenda post retirement

Nov 22, 2016; Montreal Impact forward Didier Drogba (11) interacts with fans after the first leg game against the Toronto FC of the MLS Eastern Conference Championship at Olympic Stadium. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

When it comes to legendary Premier League strikers, any discussion is incomplete without mentioning Didier Drogba. The former Ivory Coast international and former Major League Soccer player won four league titles and one UEFA Champions League title with Chelsea and his tally of 164 goals from 381 appearances makes him the fourth all-time highest goal-scorer for the Blues.

As a result, football fans all around the world honored him when he decided to call time on his illustrious career Thursday after playing top-level football for 20 years.

When asked about the reasons behind his retirement, the 40-year-old striker was quite clear that the decision was premeditated and he believes that this is the perfect time to bid farewell to his playing career.

“It was time to start something else. I have been going on for a lot of years and I have won a lot of trophies. Towards the end, I wanted to use my experience to give back to the younger players and I believe that this was the perfect time to say goodbye,” Drogba told Hindustan Times on Friday.

Drogba’s teammates at Chelsea — John Terry and Frank Lampard — have both opted for coaching careers after announcing their retirement but Drogba, who was in the capital as a global ambassador for Yokohama Tyres, was reluctant to talk about his intentions to follow their lead. The striker believes that it will be an interesting option but he needs to think about that move.

“When two of your friends are going in that direction, it certainly makes you think about whether I should follow that path or not. But, I think that coaching can be quite interesting,” he said.

Nov 22, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact forward Didier Drogba (11) interacts with fans after the first leg game against the Toronto FC of the MLS Eastern Conference Championship at Olympic Stadium. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

While a majority of his career was spent with Chelsea, Drogba did travel around the world during his career. He plied his Chinese Super League team Shanghai Shenhua, Turkish side Galatasaray and MLS side Montreal Impact before joining second-tier United Soccer League side Phoenix Rising.

However, Phoenix Rising is more than just a playing assignment for Drogba as he owns a part of the club and right now, his immediate goal is to develop the club and to take it to the country’s top-tier league.

“That is actually my next move,” he said. “I decided to join Phoenix Rising because I wanted to give back to the game. As of now, I want the team to grow and hopefully we will be able to get a MLS franchise license. It is just the beginning of the journey and this can be a great experience for me and the club as well.”

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(c)2018 the Hindustan Times (New Delhi)
Visit the Hindustan Times (New Delhi) at www.hindustantimes.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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