Didier Drogba Confirms He Is Set to End His Football Playing Career in 2018

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2017

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 10:  Didier Drogba #11 of Phoenix Rising FC runs on the field in the first half of the match against the Vancouver Whitecaps II at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex on June 10, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has revealed he is set to call time on his playing career in 2018. 

Speaking to RMC (h/t Ian Holyman of ESPN FC) the Ivorian icon said the next campaign with Phoenix Rising FC, where he is the player-owner, will be the last before he retires.

"I think next year will be my last season," he admitted. "There comes a time when you have to stop. I need time for my other projects. It's good to play, but at 39, it holds me back a bit."

Provided Drogba does play into next year it means his professional senior career would have spanned an incredible 20 years. The forward made his debut for Le Mans in 1998.

He's best known for his spells at Chelsea. In total he played 381 times for the Blues, scoring 164 times; Drogba also won the Premier League on four occasions, the FA Cup four times and netted the winning penalty when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich to win the UEFA Champions League.

Chelsea's Ivorian forward Didier Drogba (R) celebrates with the trophy after the UEFA Champions League final football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea FC on May 19, 2012 at the Fussball Arena stadium in Munich. Chelsea beat Bayern Munich 4-3 o
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Drogba has also enjoyed spells at Marseille and Galatasaray before he ventured into Major League Soccer with Montreal Impact.

As of late, Drogba appears to have shifted towards off-field projects, and he made history when joining Phoenix Rising by becoming the first-ever player-owner of a football club. He's netted 10 times in 14 league games for the club.

Per sports commentator Nate Abaurrea, it's peculiar to see the great man playing in such modest venues:

For Phoenix, having someone at the club who is so experienced and has won so many trophies is a massive boost as they seek to build a team that was only founded in 2014.

If he's anywhere near as successful an owner as he has been a footballer, then his current club can look forward to exciting times.