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Drogba says 'time is right' to leave Chelsea

  • AFP, Tuesday, May 22, 2012 5:28 PM

Didier Drogba confirmed Tuesday he will leave newly crowned European champion Chelsea when his contract expires at the end of June. Drogba. 34, has played for Chelsea since 2004 scored 157 goals in 341 appearances helping the Blues win 10 trophies.He leaves the London club after scoring a late equalizer against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on Saturday and then converting the decisive penalty in a dramatic shoot-out after extra-time.

"I wanted to put an end to the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea," he told Chelsea's Web site. "It has been a very difficult decision for me to make and I am very proud of what we have achieved, but the time is right for a new challenge for me."

During his eight seasons he won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, and the Champions League title.

"As a team we have accomplished so much and have won every single trophy possible," said Drogba, who won the Premier League Golden Boot twice. "I wish the club all the best and continued success for the future - you will always be in my heart."

The club attempted to open negotiations on a new contract but those discussions never got very far. Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said, "We have known for some time that this outcome was likely but Didier and the club only made a final decision on that in the last couple of days, because for obvious reasons neither Didier nor the club wanted to distract focus away from the Champions League Final.

"The talks were amicable all the way through and we wish him all the best for the future."

Read the whole story at AFP »

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