Chelsea's Didier Drogba celebrates after the game. : Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport
So Long

Didier Drogba confirms Chelsea exit

If you’re going to go out, you might as well go out by winning the Champions League final with a penalty.

CHELSEA STRIKER Didier Drogba will leave the club when his contract expires in June, both club and player have confirmed.

The 34-year-old, who joined Chelsea from Marseille eight years ago, has revealed leaving the club was a tough decision to make but believes he needs a new challenge.

The confirmation comes a day after reports in France suggested Drogba would be leaving, only for his agent to deny the speculation.

“I wanted to put an end to all the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea,” Drogba said. ”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 scored the winner in his team’s penalty shootout win over Bayern Munich in Saturday’s Champions League final. Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay was full of praise for the Ivory Coast international, hailing him a ‘legend’ of the club.

“Didier is undoubtedly a Chelsea legend and will always be part of the Chelsea family,” he said. ”He is certainly leaving on a high after Saturday night but he feels the time is right for a new challenge.

“Of course Didier has contributed so much to all of Chelsea’s recent successes.  He has been a consummate professional during his entire time here and as one of the natural leaders in our squad he has been an inspiration to a lot of our younger players.”

The influential striker netted 157 times in his 341 appearances for the club, leaving him fourth on Chelsea’s all-time scoring charts, with 34 of those goals coming in European competitions. He won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two Carling Cups and the Champions League during his spell at Stamford Bridge.

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