Chelsea confirm Didier Drogba will leave the club

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Didier Drogba has told his Chelsea team-mates he is leaving the newly-crowned Champions League winners because he doesn’t fancy spending time on the substitutes bench, France Football said Monday.

Drogba, 34, is out of contract at the end of June and has long been linked with a move to China. Quotes attributed to the player on Monday had indicated that there would be no extension of his contract and, while that story was later denied by the player’s agent, it has now been confirmed that he will move on.

Drogba scored the late equaliser and then the decisive penalty in the shootout win over German side Bayern Munich on Saturday – is quoted by the magazine as saying he burst into tears when he told the rest of the squad during their open top bus parade with the trophy on Sunday. “We (he and his team-mates) will not be together next season,” the magazine cited Drogba as saying.

“As I have decided to leave, I wanted to tell them to their faces.

“Only that I couldn’t do it. They made me break down. Even if it has been three years that I have said I wanted to leave, I found it hard to admit that it was finished with me and the club.

Drogba leaves after eight years at Stamford Bridge during which he won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two Carling Cups before playing a key role in the club’s Champions League victory over Bayern Munich on Saturday.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Drogba said: “I wanted to put an end to all the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea. 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.

“As a team we have accomplished so much and have won every single trophy possible. Saturday was a very special moment for everyone at the club and for all the fans, and I am very proud to have played my part in bringing many trophies to this club, which has been my home for the last eight years.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the club especially Roman and my team-mates, many of whom have become very close friends and will be my friends for life. I would also like to say a very special thank you to the Chelsea fans who have shown me so much love and support over the years.

“I wish the club all the best and continued success for the future – you will always be in my heart.”

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