Drogba, The Different Leader

Didier Drogba has retired today. We all witnessed his attacking abilities in Chelsea and Ivory Coast after his late emerging in Marseille at the age of 26. But beyond the impressive stats on the field it is a good opportunity to recall some of impressive moments off the field:

 Didier Drogba, more than a football player (PA)

Didier Drogba, more than a football player (PA)

1978: Born in Abidjan, the oldest child among seven brothers and sisters.

1983: Was sent by his parents to France to live with his uncle, a former football player.

1986: Returned to the Ivory Coast after his permit to stay in France wasn’t renewed.

1988: Went back to France and rejoined his uncle, while he started to play for youth teams in France.

1999: After training in amateur clubs while studying to become an accountant, Drogba became a professional player at the age of 21.

 Drogba’s first steps as a pro in Le Mans (L’Equipe)

Drogba’s first steps as a pro in Le Mans (L’Equipe)

2006: After the Ivory Coast qualified to the World Cup, and while the country is bleeding in a civil war, Drogba united his teammates to call for peace in the country.

2007: Named as a UN goodwill ambassador for his peace efforts in Ivory Coast.

2007: Started to contribute all his sponsorship earnings to fund health projects in Africa.

2010: After several years of mediating between both sides to the civil war, Drogba participated in a campaign calling people of Ivory Coast to promote peace towards the upcoming elections.

2010: Chosen by Time among one of the 100 most influential people in the world, following his role in the peace efforts in the Ivory Coast.

2011: Participated in the reconciliation efforts after the elections in the Ivory Coast.

 Didier Drogba, the hero of the Ivory Coast (AFP/Getty Images)

Didier Drogba, the hero of the Ivory Coast (AFP/Getty Images)

So the next time you see a highlight of Drogba, remember that behind the great football player there is also a great personality that never forgot where he came from. Thank you for the inspiration, Didier!