Didier Drogba is a Chelsea legend. He's the man for the big occasion. In my view this ability to perform when it really matters separates the great players from the good ones.
He joined the Londoners from Marsellie in 2004. His £24 million price tag initially appeared to weigh him down. One of my Blues supporting mates was far from impressed with the big man early displays. In fairness his debut
campaign wasn't a total failure. Right from the start Drogba reserved his best for the mega encounters. He scored the Blues' second in the 2005 Carling Cup Final. Jose Mourinho's men went on to beat Liverpool 3-2, their first silverware under the Special One.
The Drog scored 16 goals that season as Chelsea completed a league and cup double. This was Chelsea's first top flight success in half a century. History repeated itself the following campaign. The big Ivorian netted 16 goals as the pensioners retained their title.
The 2006/7 season was a watershed in the striker's career. Drogba found the net
33 times, a world class striker had finally arrived. He scored this magnificent goal in September to inflict more misery on Liverpool.
His final goal of the season helped deliver more silverware to Stamford Bridge. An extra time strike deciding the 2007 FA Cup Final.
The striker repeated the dose in the 2009 FA Cup Final. Chelsea looked in trouble when Louis Saha fired Everton into a first-minute lead. Drogba again stepped up to the plate when he equalised. The turnround was completed when Frank Lampard hit the winner.
Twelve months later he was at it again. A powerful free-kick ended Portsmouth's dreams of lifting the FA Cup. Despite these vitals goals, rumours of a Drogba exit persisted. He had fallen out of favour during the ill fated reign of Luis Felipe Scolari.
The 2011 arrival of Fernando Torres heightened the likelihood of his departure. The subsequent struggles of Torres trigered a renaissance in Drogba's career. The old hero has recaptured his mojo this season. As Tottenham Hotspur found to their cost in April's FA Cup Semi Final.
That goal personified Drogba. The irresistible combination of power and pace leaving defences floundering. Last Saturday saw him write his name into FA Cup history. His goal against Liverpool made him the first player to score in four FA Cup Finals. Despite this unparalleled success on the domestic stage, glory in Europe's premier club competition has eluded Drogba and Chelsea. He was sent off as Chelsea lost the 2008 Champions League Final, surely the low point of his glittering career. This year's quest for the holy grail seems to have inspired the Blues' talisman. He scored the winner in the first leg of the semi-final against Barcelona.
Drogba was equally inspired in the second leg. He reverted to defence following John Terry's sending off. Time and again the make shift full back made telling interceptions as Chelsea held on for glory. The result must have been particularly sweet for the Ivory Coast international. He was incensed after several questionable refereeing decisions helped Barca beat Chelsea in the 2009 Champions League semi-final. Few would deny Drogba the ultimate prize on May 19 in Munich.
Calling all Chelsea fans. What has been your most special moment from Didier Drogba in a Chelsea shirt? Has he turned out to be a bargain? Would you like to see him sign for another season or do you think it is time to make Torres the main man at the Bridge? Whatever your views we'd love to hear from you.