Didier Drogba planning football retirement in 2018 | football | Hindustan Times
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Didier Drogba planning football retirement in 2018

Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba has set his sights on retirement in 2018 after a second season with Phoenix Rising.

football Updated: Nov 15, 2017 10:57 IST
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Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba is escorted by police officers upon his arrival at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai in June 2012. Drogba signed with Chinese soccer club Shanghai Shenhua on a two-year contract that reportedly made him China's highest-paid player.
Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba is escorted by police officers upon his arrival at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai in June 2012. Drogba signed with Chinese soccer club Shanghai Shenhua on a two-year contract that reportedly made him China's highest-paid player. (AP)

Didier Drogba will call time on his playing career after the 2018 United Soccer League (USL) season to focus on other projects.

The four-time Premier League champion scored nine goals in his first season with Phoenix Rising as they finished fifth in the Western Conference.

As well as being Phoenix’s star player, the Ivorian is also an owner of the club, and it is his off-field ventures that the 39-year-old wants to concentrate on going forward.

“I think next year will be my last season,” he told RMC. “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.”

Didier Drogba celebrates scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Stoke City at Stamford Bridge in London, on March 10, 2012. (AFP)

After moving to Chelsea in 2004, Didier Drogba established himself as one of the top strikers in world football, his strength and goal-scoring prowess setting him apart from his rivals.

In nine years at Stamford Bridge – over two spells – the forward scored 164 times for the Blues, including a crucial goal and the winning penalty as they won the Champions League in 2012.

Away from the Premier League Didier Drogba also lifted the Super Lig title with Galatasaray in 2013, while he also spent time in China before moving to MLS with Montreal Impact.