Didier Drogba confirms that today's clash with Sunderland will be his last for Chelsea
Didier Drogba has announced that Sunday afternoon's home clash with Sunderland will be his last for the Barclays Premier League champions but he hopes to return to the club in some capacity in the future.
The 37-year-old Ivorian will sign off from his second stint at Stamford Bridge before the club lift the Premier League trophy in front of their home fans following the final match of the season.
Drogba, who slotted home the decisive Champions League-winning penalty for the Blues at the end of his first spell with the club in 2012, told chelseafc.com: "I want to play for at least one more season and in order to play more football I feel I need to go to another club.
"All the fans know my love for Chelsea and I hope to be back here in the future in another role."
Drogba first joined Chelsea from Marseille for £24million in the summer of 2004, after beginning his career at Le Mans then moving on to Guingamp. He went on to win three Premier League titles - the first in his debut season - with the club during his first spell in London.
The former Ivory Coast striker's first stint with the Blues ended after they defeated Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on their opponents' home turf at the Allianz Arena after clocking up a massive 226 league appearances and scoring 100 league goals in his efforts.
Drogba made a switch to Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Shenhua for a season before he joined Turkish giants Galatasaray last term, helping them to a Super Kupa win as they finished runners-up in the Super Lig.
After manager Jose Mourinho brought Drogba back to Chelsea on a free transfer last July, the player has also added a third League Cup winners' medal to his extensive collection.
He said at the time of his return: ''It was an easy decision - I couldn't turn down the opportunity to work with Jose again.
''Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me.''
This season Drogba has scored seven goals in all competitions for the club and his significant contribution to the squad has been felt both on and off the pitch.
The club thanked Drogba for his contribution, saying in a statement: "Everyone at Chelsea Football Club would like to thank Didier for his fantastic service and he is always welcome back to Stamford Bridge.
"We are sure all our fans would like to join us in wishing him well for the future and thanking him for giving us so many wonderful memories."