It's official. The Montreal Impact have signed Didier Drogba.
I'll just let that sink in for a moment. In the meantime, here is a rundown of the top five moments in the 37 year old striker's illustrious career.
5. Drogba's brace inspires Marseille to victory
In 2004, Marseille met Newcastle United in the semi finals of the UEFA Cup (now called the Europa). After drawing 0-0 at St James Park two weeks earlier, the teams met at the Stade Vélodrome with a spot in the final up for grabs. Didier Drogba opened the scoring with a breathtaking counter run and finish to put the home team ahead in the 18' minute.
Marseille spent the next sixty four minutes teetering on the one goal advantage before the Ivorian struck again. This time on a well hit one timer inside the 18 yard box to lift the French side to the final. He finished the tournament with six goals, tying for second.
4. Chelsea wins 2007 Football League Cup behind two Drogba goals
In the 2007 Football League Cup, then the Carling Cup and now the Capital One Cup, Chelsea were pitted against London rivals Arsenal in the final. 70, 073 people packed inside Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to witness the London derby, although this time there was more than just three league points at stake.
Theo Walcott's curling shot in the 12' minute saw the Gunners take an early lead. However, only eight minutes later Drogba found himself alone on goal and made no mistake, levelling the game at one all. He wasn't finished. In the 84' minute, he headed home a cross that would prove to be the winner.
His two goals inarguably earned him Man of the Match honours, as Chelsea would lift the league cup trophy for the fourth time. After the match, Frank Lampard would say about his teammate, "He does it week in, week out and on the big occasions," further certifying the Abidjan native's reputation of formidable play when the spotlight is the brightest.
3. History is made for Côte d'Ivoire
Pelé once said that, "The World Cup is a very important way to measure the good players, and the great ones. It is a test of a great player." Scoring a goal and lifting your nation in the most famous sporting event in the world is a magical thing. It is one of the very rare instances where sport changes from just being a game and transcends into the political and cultural worlds.
In 2006, the World Cup qualification of Les Éléphants is credited as an essential factor in creating a truce during the First Ivorian Civil War. Their success brought the warring parties together and influenced then-President Laurent Gbagbo to restart peace talks.
In their opening group match against Argentina, Drogba scored his nation's first ever FIFA World Cup goal in the 82' minute. Serving as captain for the match, he would later go on to say that during the national anthem, "I was overwhelmed by emotion. I even saw my career pass before my eyes."
2. Drogba, Chelsea stun Manchester United in 2007 FA Cup Final
At the new Wembley Stadium, Didier Drogba netted the extra time winner to lift the Blues 1-0 over league winners Manchester United. In the 116' minute, Drogba's 1-2 passing with Frank Lampard left the striker one-on-one with a charging Edwin van der Sar. The 89, 826 fans on hand saw Drogba knock the ball past the Dutch keeper in the 116' minute. The goal gave Chelsea the title and inaugurated the new Wembley with one of the most memorable and dramatic goals.
1. 2012 UEFA Champions League Final
There isn't much debate about this one. The 2012 Champions League Final had Chelsea take on Bayern Munch - in Munich, Germany. What the 62,500 people in Allianz Arena and the millions of people watching worldwide witnessed could arguably be called one of the most clutch performances in Champions League finals history.
Thomas Müller's 83' minute header seemed to be the difference maker for the Germans. Coming only seven minutes from the full ninety, the streets of Munich were primed for celebrations for the home team's triumph.
Not so fast. Didier Drogba found Juan Mata's corner kick in the 88' minute and smashed a header past Manuel Neuer to pull Chelsea back from the brink. It set the stage for a thrilling finish.
However, for as much as Drogba was the hero, he easily could have been the villain. In the 93' minute, he clipped Franck Ribery in the box, giving Bayern Munich a chance to go up from the spot. This prompted the commentator Martin Tyler to remark, "Suddenly, he has gone from hero to zero." But with all great players, luck seems to play in their favour. For when Arjen Robben stepped up, Petr Čech dove to his own left and saved the shot.
At the end of extra time, penalties were to decide the final. Cruel memories of their 2008 shootout loss to Manchester United quickly welled up in the minds of Chelsea supporters, especially when Juan Mata saw his attempt saved in the first round. However, Ivica Olić could not convert and when Ashley Cole successfully netted his, the shootout came down to sudden death.
Bastian Schweinsteiger's shot hit the post and left Chelsea with a chance to win their first Champions League title. Didier Drogba would be the man to step up and take on the burden for the English club. The attempt marked the second time in Chelsea's history where they would be one successful penalty away from winning Europe's most prestigious club trophy, as John Terry missed his chance in Moscow four years earlier.
The man from Abidjan, the man with the flair for the dramatic, the man who equalized with two minutes to play, and the man who almost gave up the decisive penalty in extra time, stepped up and buried his shot to the left side of the net. Diving in the opposite direction, Neuer could only helplessly watch as the ball hit the back of the goal. Making the sign of the cross and then running to his goal keeper, Drogba's reaction kicked off massive celebrations for the Chelsea players, coaches, and supporters. His winning penalty is number one on our countdown.
Now with all the speculation over, Didier Drogba has signed on the dotted line and is indeed a member of the Montreal Impact. With loads of experience, talent, and work ethic, he could be the missing piece for the Bleu-Blanc-Noir. With a championship résumé already as long as the St. Lawrence, Didier Drogba will look to add an MLS Cup to that list.