Encomium of a Football Legend
He is neither Cristiano Ronald nor Leonel Messi; and his
greatness is not measured by the number of Ballon d’Or he has won. Nor could it
be gauged by the number of trophies to his name for his country. Indeed, he has
won none of these. Yet his greatness is undisputable, and understandably so.
Few people would have bid on him that could ever make to
professional footballing, and fewer still would have thought that he could make
a name and leave his marks in the world of football. He was destined to be an accountant; and until
the age of 21, he never made an international debut in the crazily competitive and
cruelly exclusive world of football. Yet he was to become one of Africa’s
greatest footballers and one of the most feared and most venerated strikers the
world has ever seen. Ask the erstwhile Manchester United manager Sir Alex
Ferguson or Arsène Wenger, if you may. His story is that of making the impossible
become real, palpable, and concrete.
Didier Drogba is his name. Some people like to call him the “Legend”;
others refer to him as the “King”.
He is Blue, the color of a boundless sea that keeps flying
high and high in Northern London. It was his move to Chelsea, where he belongs
ever since, that helped make him a Legendary, a King in the world of football. There,
he has won everything the club has competed for. It is often believed that a
player needs to be a winner of Ballon d’Or to reach greatness. If so, Drogba is
an exception. He has reached greatness without succumbing to its weight. He once
remarked: “I’m the proof that hard work beats talent. You have talent? Great,
keep it. Keep your talent. I don’t care. Because I’m going to work until I
surpass you. I’m never going to give up.” That says all about him. Little
wonder he has always been there whenever he was needed the most: producing his
best on the biggest occasions.
On 22 October 2003, José Mourinho is said to have whispered in
his ears, after Olympic de Marseille’s defeat to Mourinho’s Port FC, “it is a
striker like yourself that I’ll need one day”. Indeed, history will forever
remember that the two made history in Chelsea the following year and a many
To many Chelsea’s fans (myself included), Drogba is amongst
the players (if not entirely the player) who made them believe that the club is
worthwhile supporting. Beyond any doubt, he has been a source of inspiration to
the African youth and to young people around the globe.
Now that he has retired, now that he has proven everything
and has nothing more to prove, one can only wish all the best to the Legend,
the King—Didier Drogba.