Didier Drogba, who made his debut for the Ivory Coast national team 12 years ago, has today announced his retirement from international soccer. The 36-year old Chelsea striker featured in three World Cups, and has captained his national side for the last eight years. Drogba also lead “Les Elephants” to two runners-up finishes in the African Cup of Nations in 2006 and in 2012. Over the past decade, the talismanic striker has emerged as one of the world’s best in his position, often being the benchmark for the comparison of many up and coming forwards.
In an interview with Canal+, Drogba’s mind seemed made up that the time was right for him to retire:
“It’s the right time. It’s the right time to stop, to leave my place for the younger [players] and to start to build a team for the future. It’s a difficult decision, because I know what I am capable of, but when I feel that people no longer have the same faith in me as before, I feel it is a sage decision. I am available to the country, but not to play. You have to know when to stop.”
The Ivorian also posted a statement to his Twitter account which read:
“It is with much sadness that I have decided to retire from international football. These past 12 years in the national team have been full of emotions. From my first call up to my last match I have always tried to give my best for my country. I am very proud to have been captain of this team for 8 years and to have contributed to placing my country on the world stage of football taking part in 3 World Cups and 2 African Cup of Nations finals. I cannot convey enough thanks to the fans for all the love and support during these years. All my goals, all my caps, all our victories are for you – I love you. I also owe much gratitude to my teammates – the players with whom I have shared all these emotions and I wish you all much success for the future and a very warm welcome to the new manager.”
Didier Drogba will begin the new EPL season with Chelsea FC, with whom he signed a one-year contract in late July.