Didier Drogba, an Olympien star

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On Thursday 22 November 2018 at 01:31

Few Olympiens have managed to win and become a true idol in just one season. But that's what Didier Drogba did. Arriving in the summer of 2003 from Guingamp, where he just finished a great season with 17 goals in L1 and 4 in the Coupe de France, Didier Drogba was not spotted to be OM's star striker. This role was, in principle, already taken by Mido, an Egyptian international and established as a star. But the Ivorian international quickly eclipsed his African colleague.

The first three Marseille goals of the 2003-04 season were scored by Bakayoko, Mido and Sytchev. Didier Drogba took his lumps and waited patiently for his time. An hour that seemed to last a whole season. He shook the net in his fourth match, in a defeat at Lens (2-1), but the scoring machine had officially launched. The goals came at a crazy speed. His rating among les Olympiens fans climbed suddenly, one evening in October 2003 with the home match against Partizan Belgrade. Already a striker in the Champions League when traveling to Real Madrid (4-2 defeat), the Ivorian mounted a resounding hat trick in the last half hour of the match at the Stade Vélodrome against the Serbs. A song then erupted ("Didier Drogba lalalalala!!") and resonated in French and European stadiums all season. His success and performances led him to the top of European football.

Third in the Champions League group, OM were relegated to the UEFA Cup (former name of the Europa League). Now coached by José Anigo, who succeeded Alain Perrin in the beginning of 2004, Marseille traced its route on the continental level by knocking out big European powers: Liverpool and Inter Milan. Didier Drogba scored every time and Drogba-mania continue growing. One night, after a 0-0 first leg, the Stade Vélodrome was full, but no one knew they'd see the last two goals of the Ivorian under les Olympiens colours. Alone, in two great plays, he sent OM into the final. The first goal saw him eliminate his mark with a heelade for himself; on the second, Laurent Batlles, who took the free kick, send the ball to the penalty spot where Didier Drogba scored to eurupt the Velodrome volcano.

Unfortunately, the beautiful love story ended a few weeks later. An offer from Chelsea arrived on Christophe Bouchet's desk. The president couldn't refuse and, despite the desire of Didier Drogba to stay at OM, the Ivorian star joined London after a final press conference in tears. He will shared his love for the club and his supporters. In 2010, when Chelsea came to Marseille in the Champions League, the affair rekindled. The 8 of December, 2010, he was given a standing ovation (during the warm-up and during his substitution) by the stadium and was overwhelmed by emotion.

In one season in an Olympien jersey, Didier Drogba - who just announced his retirement after 20 years at the highest level - played 55 games with 32 goals and will forever leave  unforgettable memories in the hearts of all Marseille fans.