Didier Drogba has finally hung up his boots at the age of 40; we remember his greatest #UCL nights.
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"After 20 years, I have decided to put an end to my playing career," Didier Drogba said yesterday, the Chelsea great having spent the last 18 months in the United States playing for Phoenix Rising, the club he co-owns.
The Ivorian scored 44 goals in 92 UEFA Champions League games (group stage to final), and is one of a select band of players who reached 50 goals in UEFA club competition. A 2011/12 UEFA Champions League winner with Chelsea, Drogba won four Premier League titles with the Blues, as well as a Turkish title at Galatasaray in 2012/13. Were these his greatest UEFA Champions League nights?
Marseille 3-0 Partizan
01/10/2003, group stage
Having struck on his group stage debut, a 4-2 loss to Real Madrid, OM's summer signing from Guingamp swept ten-man Partizan aside with a devastating 23-minute hat-trick at Stade Vélodrome.
Paris Saint-Germain 0-3 Chelsea
14/09/2004, group stage
Two months after his reported €36m move to west London, Drogba returned to France in style, scoring twice as José Mourinho – fresh from guiding Porto to European glory the previous season – won his first #UCL game as Blues manager.
Levski Sofia 1-3 Chelsea
27/09/2006, group stage
Chelsea built on a matchday one defeat of Werder Bremen as Drogba registered his second #UCL treble. Mourinho later said of the striker: "He gave me his sweat and his blood every minute he was on the pitch for me."
Chelsea 3-2aet Liverpool
30/04/2008, semi-final second leg
The forward scored one in normal time and one in extra time against the Reds, Chelsea's nemesis in two of the previous three European Cup semi-finals, as the Blues made their first #UCL final (which they lost to Manchester United on penalties).
Bayern München 1-1 Chelsea
Drogba's first spell with Chelsea ended in glory; with Roberto Di Matteo's team trailing in the Munich final to Thomas Müller's effort, Drogba met Juan Mata's corner with a powerful near-post header to force extra time. Petr Čech's 95th-minute penalty save took the match to a shoot-out, where failures from Ivica Olić and Bastian Schweinsteiger allowed Drogba to step up and convert the winner.