Chelsea's Drogba Retires from International Play as 2nd-Leading African Scorer

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffAugust 16, 2014

Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba (11) celebrates after Wilfried Bony scored his side's first goal against Greece's goalkeeper Panagiotis Glykos during the group C World Cup soccer match between Greece and Ivory Coast at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

With the recent announcement of his retirement from the Ivory Coast national team, Chelsea forward Didier Drogba finishes his international career as the second-leading scorer among all African players, according to ESPN's Paul Carr.

Drogba's 65 international goals are just three short of the record 68 netted by Egyptian legend Hossam Hassan, who registered an incredible 176 caps over a stretch of 20 years. Drogba did his damage in just 104 matches, making regular appearances for Ivory Coast from 2002 to 2014.

Named African Footballer of the Year in 2006 and 2009, the 36-year-old Chelsea man finished second for the award in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2012, with Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o taking the honors each of the first three times.

Drogba was also third in the balloting in 2007, 2010 and 2013, giving him a record nine appearances in the top three of the voting. Eto'o holds the record of four first-place finishes, but 31-year-old Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure has won the award three times running and seems to have no intention of slowing down.

Although he was never able to lead Ivory Coast to glory in the Africa Cup of Nations, Drogba led the national side to their first World Cup appearance in 2006 and then helped to bring them back in both 2010 and 2014. While they didn't advance past the group stage in any of those three appearances, Les Elephants are now established as an African footballing power.

An integral part of his nation's rise to prominence on the international stage, Drogba leaves the Ivorians in good hands with star players like Toure and Gervinho set to take over the helm.