There have been rumours circulating for months that the striker, signed in 2004 by Jose Mouriniho, would leave the London club after 8 years of dedicated service. The Ivorian confirmed the rumour on the Chelsea website. "I wanted to put an end the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea. It has been a very difficult decision for me to make and I am very proud of what we have achieved, but the time is right for a new challenge for me."
Drogba had wanted a two year extension to his contract that expires this summer but Chelsea have refused. It is reported that he has signed a deal with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua where he would be reunited with former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka.
Drogba has been present through Chelsea’s most successful period in its 107 year history. He has won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and he scored the winning penalty to secure them the Champions League trophy last Saturday against Bayern Munich. On his impressive record Drogba said; “Saturday was a very special moment for everyone at the club and for all the fans. I am very proud to have played my part in bringing many trophies to this club, which has been my home for the last eight years.” He has made 342 appearances and scored 157 goals.
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay praised Drogba’s commitment and success at Chelsea. “Of course Didier has contributed so much to all of Chelsea's recent successes. He has been a consummate professional during his entire time here. As one of the natural leaders in our squad he has been an inspiration to a lot of our younger players. The talks were amicable all the way through and we wish him all the best for the future."