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Drogba's Chelsea delights

ESPN staff
May 25, 2012
Didier Drogba's header set Chelsea on their way to Champions League glory © PA Photos
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After signing off his Chelsea career in perfect fashion with the winning penalty in the Champions League final, ESPN takes a look through the Ivorian's showreel for 10 magic moments.

2007 FA Cup final, v Manchester United
It's fair to say Drogba has had a love affair with the FA Cup, winning the famous trophy on four occasions. He has had a penchant for scoring vital goals in the competition and he got the ball rolling against Manchester United in 2007. These two sides have traded blows at the top of the English tree for a decade and there was nothing between them at Wembley. For 115 minutes, they were locked together and the game looked destined for penalties - until Drogba latched on to a pass from Frank Lampard and stabbed the ball beyond Edwin van der Sar to secure the trophy.

2007 Carling Cup final, v Arsenal
The FA Cup win capped a memorable season for Chelsea and Drogba in particular. They missed out on the Premier League title, which went Manchester United's way, but they also claimed the Carling Cup final and Drogba was once again the hero. In a game that ended on a sour note with three red cards, Chelsea's John Obi Mikel and Arsenal's Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor, it was Drogba who was at his fearsome best. The Gunners took an early lead through Theo Walcott, but Drogba drew the Blues level before the interval and popped up with the winner six minutes from time. It was typical Drogba, as he sensed an opening as Arjen Robben whipped in a cross and simply proved too strong for marker Philippe Senderos and planted a header beyond Manuel Almunia.

2010 FA Cup final, v Portsmouth
The 2009/2010 season saw Chelsea clinch their first Premier League and FA Cup Double. They went into the Wembley showpiece as long odds-on favourites to see off a Portsmouth side who had already been relegated and finished the season 69 points behind their final rivals. But Pompey produced a spirited display and it took a moment of brilliance from Drogba to break them down. There have been many great free-kick takers down the years and Drogba is towards the top of the list. The way he strikes the ball with his instep often fools keepers and his effort on the hour mark at Wembley was out of the top drawer. He stepped up and flushed the ball, which flew with pace beyond the dive of David James and into the side of the net.

This is a celebration Chelsea fans have seen a lot of down the years © PA Photos
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2012 FA Cup final v Liverpool
The 2012 iteration of the FA Cup final saw Drogba win it for a fourth time and in helping them see off Liverpool, he became the first player to score in four FA Cup finals. It wasn't a vintage display from the Blues, as they had to stave off a late barrage from Liverpool, but Drogba's goal on 52 minutes, when he collected a pass from Frank Lampard and fired a shot across Jose Reina and into the bottom corner, proved pivotal.

January 2011, v Bolton
Picking out Drogba's greatest goals is a tough task, given the sheer amount of quality strikes he has produced in his career, but the one against Bolton in the winter of 2011 stands up to scrutiny. A defensive error was one Bolton were made to rue, as they relinquished possession to Drogba 30 yards from goal. The Trotters did not immediately sense the danger, which again proved costly, as Drogba moved the ball out of his feet and unleashed a rasping drive that swerved all over the place before flying over Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the top of the net.

December 2006, v Everton
Chelsea missed out on the title in the 2006/2007 season, but it was not for a lack of effort on the part of Drogba. The Ivorian dragged his side to a 3-2 win at Everton. The Toffees are one of the toughest sides to beat at home, especially when leading in the game. A goal from Frank Lampard drew Chelsea level, setting the scene for someone to claim the three points. Up stepped Drogba who took the ball down on his chest 35 yards from goal, turned and flashed a rocket of a shot that had Tim Howard grasping at thin air.

October 2006, v Barcelona
The Champions League, more on that later, has witnessed some amazing highs and shocking lows in the career of Drogba. A moment for the scrapbook came in the group stage at home to mighty Barcelona as the striker netted one of the great European goals. Collecting a pass from Ashley Cole with his back to goal, Drogba flicked the ball between his legs, bamboozling his two markers, and in an instant he flashed a shot past Victor Valdes. It all happened in the blink of an eye and was sheer class.

Drogba had a low moment when he confronted referee Tom Henning Ovrebo © PA Photos
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May 2009, v Barcelona
Not all Drogba's meetings with Barcelona were positive and a moment that stands out for all the wrong reasons was in a semi-final with the Catalans in 2009. A 1-1 draw, which came courtesy of an injury-time goal from Andres Iniesta, was enough to take Barcelona through. There was no concerns about the goal, but a string of other controversial moments in the game enraged Chelsea. So much so that Drogba confronted referee Tom Henning Ovrebo after the game and launched a foul-mouth tirade in front of TV cameras. Drogba later issued an apology, but he was hit with a stiff European ban and fine by UEFA.

April 2010, v Manchester United
From 2005 to 2011, the Premier League was dominated by Chelsea and Manchester United. The 2009/2010 campaign went the way of the Blues, but only after a shift in momentum courtesy of their win at Old Trafford in April. And once again it was Drogba who popped up with the crucial goal. Carlo Ancelotti took the decision to bench Drogba, in the hope that he could come on late in the day and make an impact. And he did exactly that, collecting a pass from Salomon Kalou and slamming a shot beyond Van der Sar. Four wins from their final five games, including seven and eight-nil romps over Stoke and Wigan respectively, helped Chelsea take the title by a single point.

May 2012, v Bayern Munich
The only place to conclude is the perfect end to Drogba's Chelsea career. "Written in stars" was how England coach and TV pundit Gary Neville put it. And it was the sort of script you dream about. With your team trailing 1-0 with two minutes remaining, you produce a towering header to force the match into extra-time and as the game reaches penalties, you step up to nail the crucial spot-kick that secures your first European Cup. That is exactly what Drogba did and the winning penalty proved to be, in his eyes, the perfect way to sign off his Chelsea career.

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