Didier Drogba - Olympique de Marseille

Drogba arrived in Marseille in the summer of 2003. Here he found an environment quite different to any he had known in the past. In the Mediterranean city, he was to discover a place that talked only football, people who breathed OM. In 2003, Marseille, who had fallen somewhat from their past glories, were showing renewed ambition. The whole city was on tenterhooks waiting for the club’s involvement in the prestigious Champions’ League. This was the ideal environment for Didier to succeed in a club which, despite its recent struggles, remained one of Europe’s finest. However, the team was to have a tougher season than expected. Swinging from high to low, it never found the consistency that is the hallmark of the very best teams. Alain Perrin, who signed Didier from Guingamp, paid a heavy price for this disappointing record: he was sacked, and replaced by José Anigo. Didier was unperturbed. He was to succeed throughout the season. OM’s new Number 11 turned in one outstanding performance after another, netting goal after goal. So impressive was he that with barely a third of the season gone, there was already talk of the team developing "Drogba dependence".

Didier guides OM to the UEFA Cup final

Didier Drogba - Olympique de Marseille

In the Championnat, Drogba left defences dizzy. His outstanding technical skills were given full rein. He also exploded onto the media scene. Within a few months, he had become Marseille’s star player. The talk in the street was all about him. He finished the year with 19 goals in 35 Ligue 1 matches. The whole of France had fallen under the spell of this young striker, who would celebrate each goal with a few improvised dance moves drawn from the Ivory Coast. His impact went well beyond France and was felt throughout Europe. In the Champions’ League, Didier proved himself just as effective as he was in domestic competition. Although Marseille were knocked out in the group stages of the competition, Didier could boast five of their nine goals. Marseille qualified for a place in the UEFA Cup, where their new striker took them on a sparkling run through to the final against Valencia in Gothenburg. Didier added a further six goals in this competition, taking his tally to eleven in Europe – no wonder he was talked about throughout the continent. Scoring in both legs of the round-of-sixteen tie against Liverpool, he inspired Marseille to record the biggest upset of the round and knock out the Reds. In the quarter final against Inter Milan, he scored the only goal in Marseille’s home leg, enabling them to be more confident going into the away match. In the semi-final against Newcastle, Marseille held their hosts to a scoreless draw in the first leg before Didier Drogba, taking the club’s motto “Droit au But” (straight to the goal) to heart, notched up both his team’s goals and whipped the whole city into a frenzy. Didier had taken OM to a European Cup final. Newcastle was the second English club eliminated by OM, with Drogba the main architect of both victories.

Chelsea put £24m on the table !

Didier Drogba - Olympique de Marseille

Although the final turned out to be a series of unfortunate events for OM, Didier’s performances spearheading the Marseille attack had not gone unnoticed. The most persistent interest in the rising star came from Chelsea, and its billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich. The new-found wealth of the West London club allowed it to recruit star players from around the globe, and it offered £24m to sign Didier Drogba on a three-year contract. Didier, who had hoped to carve out a career at Marseille, like ‘Maldini at Milan’, was torn. But OM could hardly refuse such a huge cheque from the English club for their new star. Drogba left Marseille with a heavy heart, disappointed not to be able to continue his role in the club’s renaissance. “Marseille was a magical place,” he was to reflect later, but he also new that Chelsea would open up new opportunities for him. In particular he felt sure that with his new club he would be able to add to a trophy cabinet which, for all his success on the pitch, remained empty, and that at the age of 26 he would be becoming the centre forward of one of the biggest clubs in the world. Didier Drogba’s year at Marseille was an important stage in his career and was the one that was to launch him as an international star.

Par cissé adama

Didier,je ne l'ai connu qu’en 2005 comme footballeur et javais 10 ans en cette année. certes tu a pris ta retraite inter...