Drogba, 35, lifted his Galatasaray shirt to reveal a "Thank You Madiba" message, while his teammate, former Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue, also made a similar tribute.
For the two African players, it was a natural way to pay their respects to one of recent history's most influential and unifying figures—however, it has landed them in trouble in Turkey.
As Turkish news source Hurriyet Daily News explains, the next step is for the pair to explain themselves before a committee:
The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) justified the decision by arguing that the players wore the t-shirts in the match against Elazığspor without receiving permission beforehand. Both players displayed the t-shirts after the conclusion of the game, which the Lions won 2-0.
Drogba has responded by posting a picture montage on Instagram including a photo of his own meeting with the former South Africa president.
He adds that he would do it again:
I'd be very interested to see your comments on this...but I'm sorry if I had to I would do it again and again.Nor because of political beliefs but because this man inspired me,a country, a continent, the world!!!!! Thanks again Madiba
He may find that there is plenty of support for that point of view from the football community and the wider world.
After all, Drogba has previously appeared in Time's list of the 100 most influential people in the world, in no small part because of his charity work and role in Africa. Per the The Telegraph, some have even credited him has having helped stop his homeland, the Ivory Coast, from descending into civil war.
The world now awaits the Turkish Football Federation's final verdict on the tributes.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!