Didier Drogba confirms he will leave Chelsea after eight years
Didier Drogba's Champions League-winning penalty kick was his last contribution to Chelsea, with the striker announcing on Tuesday he was leaving the club after eight years.
The 34-year-old Ivory Coast international clinched Chelsea's first European title with the final kick in a shootout against Bayern Munich on Saturday after producing the equalizer that forced the final into extra time.
The goals took the talisman's tally to 157 in 341 appearances for Chelsea before deciding to find a new club as his playing career enters its closing stages.
The two-time African Player of the Year has been widely linked with a move to China, where former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka went in January to join Shanghai Shenhua, which he now coaches.
"I wanted to put an end to all the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea. 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," Drogba said. "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, whose Chelsea contract expires next month, has also won three English Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups at the west London club.
"Didier has contributed so much to all of Chelsea's recent successes," chief executive Ron Gourlay said. "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.
"We have known for some time that this outcome was likely but Didier and the club only made a final decision on that in the last couple of days, because for obvious reasons neither Didier nor the club wanted to distract focus away from the Champions League final. The talks were amicable all the way through."