Phoenix Rising FC announced Wednesday it has signed former Ivory Coast international and former Montreal Impact forward Didier Drogba to a contract. He will be invested in the Major League Soccer expansion ownership group, and contribute on the field before becoming part of the front office.
“After seeing first hand the potential for expansion of the sport in North America and getting to know the ownership group in Phoenix, I am convinced that I can help them develop their organization on and off the pitch,” Drogba said in the club release. “I look forward to their continued success in the USL, and no city is better positioned than Phoenix for expansion into the MLS.”
Drogba has a storied international career, starting in LeMans of the French Ligue 2 in 1998, where he scored 12 goals in 64 appearances with the club. Drogba then moved to Ligue 1 club Guingamp during the 2001-02 season, and stayed there until 2003, scoring 20 goals in 45 appearances with the club. In 2003, Drogba made the move to Ligue 1 Marseille, where he appeared in 35 matches for the club and scored 19 goals.
Drogba then made the move to English Premier League soccer, and joined Chelsea, where he played from 2004-2012, scoring an amazing 100 goals in 226 appearances for the club. Drogba then played one year in the Chinese Super League for Shanghai Shenhua, where he made just 11 appearances for the club, but scored eight goals.
Drogba then went to the Turkish Super Lig and played for Galatasaray, scoring 15 goals in 37 appearances for the club. Drogba then made his way back to Chelsea, in 2014, and played one year there under Jose Mourinho, scoring only four goals in 28 matches.
Drogba then made his way to North America, and specifically Major League Soccer, where he joined the Montreal Impact in 2015. He played in 33 matches over his year and a half spell with the club, and scored 21 goals for the club.
Drogba also has a storied international career with Ivory Coast, with 104 international appearances and scoring 65 goals for his national team, including four goals in World Cup matches.
He will join former Chelsea teammate Shaun Wright-Phillips, and club Governor Berke Bakay, whose uncle was a Vice President of Galatasaray.
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Firebird Rising’s Kyle J. Kepner contributed to this article.