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Monday 15 September 2014

Munich hero Didier Drogba rejoins Chelsea on a one-year deal

Duncan Bech

Published 25/07/2014 | 17:17

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Didier Drogba is back at Stamford Bridge
Didier Drogba is back at Stamford Bridge

Didier Drogba will begin his second spell at Chelsea next season after agreeing a one-year deal with Jose Mourinho's side.

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The 36-year-old striker and Blues favourite returns to Stamford Bridge after leaving in 2012 for stints at Shanghai Shenhua and Galatasaray.

"It was an easy decision - I couldn't turn down the opportunity to work with Jose again," Drogba said.

"Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me."

Drogba became a free agent upon leaving Galatasaray at the end of last season so there is no transfer fee involved in the deal.

The Ivorian marksman was named Chelsea's greatest ever player in a poll of fans in 2012 after scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances.

His last act in a Blues shirt was to rifle home the winning penalty in the shoot-out against Bayern Munich that seized the London club's first Champions League crown two years ago.

"My desire to win is still the same and I look forward to the opportunity to help this team," Drogba said.

"I'm excited for this next chapter of my career."

Mourinho, who originally lured Drogba to Chelsea for £24million in 2004, insists the decision to re-sign the club's fourth highest scorer of all time was not clouded by sentimentality.

"Didier's coming because he's one of the best strikers in Europe," Mourinho said.

"I know his personality very well and I know if he comes back he's not protected by history or what he's done for this club previously.

"He is coming with the mentality to make more history."

It was Drogba's equalising header that took the 2012 Champions League final into extra time and his 34 goals in European competition are a Chelsea record, as are the nine strikes in nine cup finals.

The first spell at Stamford Bridge, spanning eight years, produced three Barclays Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the prized victory over Bayern Munich.

Drogba's spell in Chinese football failed to last one of the two-and-a-half year deal amid allegations of unpaid wages, but he enjoyed greater success at Galatasaray, winning the 2012-13 Turkish league title.

At Chelsea he joins a crop of strikers including new signing Diego Costa and Fernando Torres as well as Romelu Lukaku and Victor Moses, who both spent last season out on loan.

Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba have already departed the club this summer.

More to follow

Didier Drogba is once again a Chelsea player, here is a look at 10 of his greatest goals in his last stint at Stamford Bridge.

DIDIER DROGBA FACTFILE

1978: March 11 - Born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

1998: Begins his professional career playing for Le Mans where he scores 12 league goals in 68 appearances.

2002: January - Signs for Guingamp, where he makes his name by scoring 17 goals in a season.

2003: June - Transfers to Marseille for £4million. In the following season, he scores 19 goals in Ligue 1 and 11 goals in Europe to help his team to the UEFA Cup final.

2004: May - Voted Footballer of the Year in France.

July 19 - Chelsea agree terms with Marseille over the £24m signing of Drogba and the deal is completed a day later.

2005: May - Finishes the season with 16 goals as the Blues win the Premier League and League Cup.

2006: February - Captains the Ivory Coast to their second African Nations Cup final, but sees his spot-kick saved as they lose 4-2 on penalties to Egypt following a goalless draw.

May - Chelsea retain the league title as Drogba again scores 16 times during the campaign.

2007: March - Crowned African Footballer of the Year.

May 19 - Scores an extra-time winner as Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final. It caps a season in which he finds the net 33 times and claims the Premier League's golden boot.

2008: April 30 - Drogba scores twice in the Champions League semi-final second leg to become their top European scorer of all time.

May 21 - Sent off for slapping Nemanja Vidic as Chelsea lose the Champions League final on penalties to Manchester United.

2009: May 6 - Drogba confronts referee Tom Henning Ovrebo over decisions in Chelsea's exit from the Champions League against Barcelona. He appears to mouth "it's a f*****g disgrace" down a TV camera lens. He was later handed a six-match ban with two games suspended, subsequently reduced by one match on appeal.

May 30 - Scores the equaliser as Chelsea come from behind to beat Everton 2-1 in the FA Cup final.

2010: March - Named African Footballer of the Year for the second time.

May 9 - Chelsea beat Wigan 8-0 to win the Premier League title with Drogba scoring a hat-trick to win the golden boot for the second time.

May 15 - Scores the winning goal as Chelsea beat Portsmouth 1-0 to complete the league and cup double.

June 20 - Starts and scores in 3-1 defeat to Brazil, a result which effectively ended Ivory Coast's World Cup.

2011: December 31: Scores 150th Chelsea goal against Aston Villa to put him level with club's all-time leading scorers Peter Osgood and Roy Bentley.

2012: February 12 - Misses late penalty as Zambia go on to win African Nations Cup in a shoot-out.

March 10 - Scores 100th Premier League goal, becoming the first African to reach the landmark.

May 5 - Becomes first player to score in four different FA Cup finals in 2-1 victory over Liverpool.

May 19 - Heads a late equaliser in Champions League final against Bayern Munich and scores the penalty in the shoot-out as Chelsea are crowned European champions.

May 22 - Chelsea announce Drogba is to leave.

June 19 - Announces he is to join Shanghai Shenhua and goes on to score eight goals in 11 matches for the Chinese side.

2013: January 28 - Signs an 18-month contract with Turkish team Galatasaray prompting a contract row with Shenhua.

May 5 - Wins Turkish league title with Gala.

2014: July 26 - Returns to Stamford Bridge on a one-year deal.

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