THROWBACK TUESDAYS: DIDIER DROGBA, THE ULTIMATE BIG GAME PLAYER
Don’t we all love some nostalgia in our lives, especially when it involves football. Well, every week, on a Tuesday, I will be taking a look at a moment, player or figure that was iconic in the game we adore so much. This week I focus on Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, the man responsible for ripping the hearts out of the biggest of footballing giants.
When you think of a big-game player, who springs to mind? Cristiano Ronaldo is a big one, Sergio Ramos and Andreas Iniesta also prove good shouts, but there is absolutely no doubt that you can overlook the Ivorian sensation that is Didier Drogba.
He started his professional career at the age of 18 with Ligue 2 club Le Mans. Signing for Ligue 1 Guingamp in 2002, he then earned a transfer to French giants Olympique de Marseille in 2003, where he finished 3rd top scorer with 19 goals. With two impressive seasons under his belt in France, Chelsea took a chance on the striker, with the London club paying a club-record £24m to secure his signature.
The former Chelsea striker was notorious for always turning up on the big occasion. After Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in 2012, he was hailed by fans as the man that single-handedly won them the trophy. A bullet header at the death by Drogba ensured the game was tied at 1-1 after the full-time whistle. He later went on to convert the decisive spot-kick in the shoot-out and help Chelsea claim their first-ever Champions League win.
The Chelsea legend holds the record for most goals scored at Wembley (8). He was also the first-ever player to score in four different FA Cup finals.
Drogba had the privilege of scoring the first-ever goal at the `New Wembley`, slotting home the only goal of the game in the 2007 FA Cup final against Manchester United.
The 6”1 hitman was evidently lethal in front of goal, the power he could generate behind some of his shots was unchallenged. His goal against Spurs in the semi-final of the 2012 FA Cup perfectly demonstrates this. After bringing the ball down beautifully on his chest, he took one touch to the right and unleashed a rocket from the edge of the box with his left boot past the despairing Cudicini.
Strength was a huge part of his game and he really knew how to utilize one of his biggest assets. Not only would this allow him to bring others into play but some of the goals he was able to score were very unique, making it impossible for opposition defenders to hold him off.
Although respectable, Drogba will never be truly remembered for his numbers (averaging 0.4 goals a game at Chelsea). In his pristine career, Drogba has scored 10 goals, in 10 finals, winning 10 trophies, it seems he prefers quality to quantity. He’s been referred to as the ultimate big-game player and you can see exactly why.