With goals in two FA Cup finals and two semifinals it should have come as no surprise when Didier Drogba netted yet another vital strike at Wembley this past weekend.
The Ivorian’s superb second half free-kick, just minutes after battling Portsmouth had missed a penalty, proved the difference between the two sides, allowing Chelsea to lift their sixth FA Cup and complete a first ever league and cup double.
The former Marseille man is a controversial figure in the Premier League. Never one to shy away from the limelight, his early years at Stamford Bridge were full of allegations of diving, while his frequent passionate outbursts, most infamously after Chelsea’s Champions League semifinal defeat to Barcelona last year, have landed him in hot water with the authorities and made him unpopular with opposition supporters.
But another reason he is so disliked is his immense ability. He gets in defenders’ faces, creates chances for himself and his teammates, and generally makes a nuisance of himself. If booing from opposition fans is the ultimate sign of respect, then Drogba is one of the most highly regarded players in the league. If he can help Ivory Coast upset the World Cup odds in South Africa, his reputation will grow further still.
Although his passion can be misdirected at times, when he is on song you would be hard pushed to find a better target man in world football today. Immensely powerful, strong on either foot as well as in the air, Drogba is the complete striker. He finished the year with the Premier League’s golden boot, hitting 29 goals, and notching a further nine goals in other competitions. He has now hit 131 goals in 260 appearances for the London club since his £24 million move back in 2004. The online betting odds make Chelsea favorites to win next season’s Premier League, and Drogba will no doubt be the key man again.
In a season where the league was won by a single point and the cup by a single goal, he provided Chelsea with that extra bit of class to nudge them ahead of their rivals, repaying his transfer fee several times over.