Once a blue, always a blue. Major League Soccer side Montreal Impact have signed former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, 37, after the club agreed a deal to acquire his rights despite interest from the Chicago Fire.
Drogba, who returned to Chelsea last season after spending six months in China playing for Shanghai Shenhua before moving to Turkey where he played for Galatasary for two seasons, made a total of 381 Premier League appearances for The Blues, winning four Premier League title, four FA Cups, and the coveted Champions League trophy.
Montreal finished bottom of the MLS table last season, but will be hoping that the arrival of the experienced Drogba will give them a boost.
The former Ivorian international, who made 104 appearances for his country before retiring in 2014, is best known as a power forward. His leading of the forward line has notably helped Chelsea to several important trophies. Especially the Champions League title in 2012, where Drogba equalized in the last minute, before slotting home the final spot-kick in a penalty shoot-out.
The deal to bring Drogba to the MLS was announced while his former club Chelsea were in Montreal training for their pre-season matches in the USA. Montreal president Joey Saputo expressed his delight after the acquisition of Drogba claiming that the signing “is one of the biggest days in the club’s history”.
Vice-President Nick De Santis also shared his joy at the signing and agreed that Drogba “can help grow [the] club”.
Drogba spent several years as captain of Ivory Coast, and although he was not a permanent captain at Chelsea, he demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities when he played. He scored over 150 goals while playing for the Premier League side in his two spells at the club, and Montreal will be hoping, even at the age of 37, that he can continue to fire in the goals.
Drogba is considered a designated player, and is not under the wage restrictions in the MLS. He joins a host of big names that have joined the MLS recently, including former Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard, who signed for New York City FC, Steven Gerrard, and Andrea Pirlo amongst others.