Drogba – the early years

Drogba – the early years

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Drogba in his last season at Chelsea © Francesca Ceciarini

Didier Drogba has taken a look back at his early years in football, in an interview with Chelsea FC.

The Ivorian striker, who is currently in his second spell with the Blues, has scored over 100 goals in a Chelsea shirt.

Drogba said “I started at Le Mans when I was 18. Before then I joined Lavallois at 15, and before that I was at another amateur club in Brittany, but Le Mans was my first professional club.”

However, despite Drogba’s prolific career at Chelsea, he said he wasn’t a born striker “Until I was 11 I played as a right-back and after that I played as a striker. My Uncle was a striker and he wanted me to play there like him. The coach I had when I signed for Le Mans was very important because I was leaving the amateur world to go to the professional game where I trained every day. That was very difficult. He had to teach me a lot of things that I didn’t know. His name is Marc Westerloppe, and he now works for PSG.”

But regardless of the top quality coaching, Drogba regards this as the best bit of advice he has ever been given: “I was 22 or 23 when a friend told me to focus on football for six months – eating well, no clubbing, sleeping well, going to train. It did work.”

The hard work paid off, with Drogba soon signing his first professional contract “When I was younger I was training with amateur teams once or twice a week and going to school. It was a dream for me but not for my family or my friends, and when I was a teenager I was a long way from my dream. So when I signed my first professional contract I was very, very, very happy. It was a very emotional moment because I had been working a lot to get there and I was proud to show my parents I could do it. I had left home when I was 18 and it was a challenge. I was the first one from the family to leave. I was on my own when I signed my contract – like a big man!”