Didier Drogba arrives to a hero’s welcome

Didier Drogba arrives Friday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Photo by Maria Luisa Gay
Didier Drogba arrives Friday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Photo by Maria Luisa Gay

Arriving at the airport a bit early, two hours actually, for Didier Drogba’s arrival in Phoenix was important, as it was too big to miss and I wasn’t taking any chances.

Drogba landed in Sky Harbor International Airport around 6 p.m. Friday where he was welcomed with song and dance as LFR1881, Los Bandidos, and the local Chelsea supporters group were all in attendance to welcome “The King” to Phoenix. Drogba took several photos with the crowd and talked to the press about his excitement to be part of the club.

“I’m happy to be here and it’s an amazing welcome from the fans,” Drogba said. “I can’t wait to get started and to see the stadium (and) to see my teammates. And it’s going to be an amazing time here.”

Drogba’s arrival marks another huge step for Phoenix Rising FC in their pursuit of an MLS Expansion franchise. Drogba is a huge addition to the club who has already contracted Mexican soccer Legend Omar Bravo and former English International Shaun Wright-Phillips to its roster. With Drogba, Phoenix Rising is aiming high this season.

Drogba’s arrival is more than just about the season however. Drogba signed a three-year contract with club earlier this month that will see him play at least the first year in a Phoenix Rising jersey, but then move into an executive role with the club as technical director. 

Drogba will be formally introduced to the Phoenix fans that didn’t make it out to the airport on Sunday night when Phoenix Rising takes on Swope Park Rangers at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex at 7 p.m.