Former Chelsea and Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba has confirmed his retirement as a player.
The 40-year-old scored 164 goals in 381 appearances over two spells with Chelsea, helping them win the Premier League four times and the Champions League in 2012, as well as four FA Cup triumphs and three League Cup victories.
Drogba had been playing this season in the United States with Phoenix Rising, the second-tier club at which he is a co-owner.
The veteran forward had been expected to hang up his boots following the United Soccer League Cup final defeat by Louisville City earlier this month.
And confirmation arrived on Wednesday evening as Drogba posted a picture of him as a youngster on his social media accounts, accompanied by a farewell message.
He said: ‘When I think of the last 20 years of my professional career, looking at this picture can’t make me more proud of what I’ve achieved as a player but most importantly how this journey has shaped me as a man.
DROGBA CHELSEA CV AND CLUB HONOURS
Premier League (2005, 2006, 2010, 2015)
FA Cup (2007, 2009, 2010, 2015)
League Cup (2005, 2007, 2015)
Community Shield (2005, 2009)
Champions League (2012)
‘If anyone tells you your dreams are too big, just say thank you and work harder and smarter to turn them into reality. #alwaysbelieve
‘I wanna thank all the players, managers, teams and fans that I have met and made this journey one of a kind!!!
‘Also a huuuuge [sic] thank you and love to my family, my personal team for supporting me all my career during the ups and downs no matter what.
‘Looking forward to the next chapter and hoping God will bless me as much as he did for my football career.’
Drogba played for Le Mans and Guingamp before joining Marseille, who he left for Chelsea in 2004 for a then club-record £24million deal.
He left Chelsea to join Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer of 2012, but six months later moved on to Galatasaray in Turkey before returning to Stamford Bridge in July 2014.
DROGBA FULL CV
Le Mans (1998 – 2002): 64 apps, 12 goals
Guingamp (2001 – 2003): 45 apps, 20 goals
Marseille (2003 – 2004): 35 apps, 19 goals
Chelsea (2004 – 2012): 226 apps, 100 goals
Shanghai Shenhua (2012): 11 apps, eight goals
Galatasaray (2012 – 2014): 37 apps, 15 goals
Chelsea (2014 – 2015): 18 apps, four goals
Montreal Impact (2015 – 2016): 33 apps, 21 goals
Phoenix Rising (2017 – 2018): 21 apps, 13 goals
A move to Major League Soccer franchise Montreal Impact followed, which would later see the Ivory Coast forward stay in the US when taking up an opportunity in Phoenix.
Drogba continues to work with his foundation on projects in his homeland and across Africa, and could yet decide to start a coaching career.
Drogba struck 164 times in 382 appearances across his two spells at Chelsea.
‘It’s a difficult moment for me,’ Drogba said when addressing the fans after his final appearance against Sunderland in 2015 after lifting his fourth Premier League title.
‘This one is really special because it’s going to be the last one as a player.
‘Everybody wants to compare the team in 2004-2005 to this team. I want to say to the young players, you might be the best but you have to catch us!
‘Be the best, we’re going to be behind you, you have the best fans in the world behind you. Thank you. I love you guys, I love you.’