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They say that art imitates life, so if anyone is looking for a movie script right now, A Miracle in Munich is probably a great place to start. The closing credits of that potential blockbuster just got that added incentive to bring a tear to one's eye with Didier Drogba's announcement that his penalty that won Chelsea their first European Cup will be his last kick of a ball in the Blues shirt.
Drogba made the announcement to leave Chelsea at the end of the season through the club's official website, bringing an end to 8 glorious years at Stamford Bridge. The Ivorian legend said, "I wanted to put an end to all the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea. 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."
"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."
Drogba's record at Chelsea is unlikely to ever be replicated in the modern game with his 157 goals in 341 appearances just the tip of the iceberg. He leaves the club having collected a phenomenal 10 winners medals including 3 League titles and 4 FA Cups to go with his maiden Champions League winner's medal. No fact will better exemplify that the Ivorian powerhouse was a big game player than the fact that he scored an amazing 9 goals in his 9 final appearances for Chelsea.
The 34-year old striker will no doubt be missed at Stamford Bridge. While his magical powers have waned marginally in recent years, fans will argue that he saved himself for the big occasions, and there was no bigger occasion than Saturday night in Munich where his 87th minute equalizer didn't just give Chelsea a lifeline, but broke the backbone of a strong Bayern unit.
While other strikers might match up to his goals-to-games ratio, Drogba's ability to dominate a game single-handedly cannot be matched. There isn't any other footballer on the planet with the raw physical ability to bully defenders into submission. While a disgruntled Fernando Torres waits in the wings for his chance to lead the Chelsea frontline, Blues fans will no doubt miss their favourite African son.
One hopes for Chelsea's sake, Torres' post Munich outburst is not seen as the final act that sealed Drogba's departure, because that would be unfair on both men. Drogba has built a legacy at Chelsea and is the first true member of the senior guard to depart (Nicolas Anelka for all his ability is just not in the same league as Drogba). Fernando Torres meanwhile will need the backing of the fans if he is to usher in a new era of success. The Spaniard may have Roman Abramovich's backing, but chances are the squad will be strengthened significantly in the off season as the Russian billionaire looks to build on his Champions League success and also bring parity between Manchester and West London. Radamel Falcao and Hulk are just two names already doing the rounds as possible strike partners for Torres, and it would be no surprise if Edinson Cavani's name also crops up in future conversations around the Bridge.
For now though the fans will undoubtedly sing there is only one Didier Drogba...
File Photograph Copyright: Ryu Voelkel
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