DROGBA: FRENCH LEAGUECAREER EXPOSED

Didier Drogba started his professional career at Le Mans in the French league and he had been at the club for three years before the Ivorian was handed a professional contract at the age of 21. At that stage, it had dawned on Didier Drogba that he had to buckle up or risk losing the opportunity to become a professional footballer. His breakthrough season at Le Mans saw him score seven goals in 30 games in what was his first campaign in the first team. In the following season, Didier Drogba didn’t perform well due to injuries and loss of form. In his third season withLe Mans first team, the Ivorian football icon returned to form with five goals in 21 appearances for his team.

He would move to Guingamp in the same French league midway through the 2001/02 season. Didier Drogba scored three times in 11 games as he helped Guingamp to avoid demotion to the lower leagues.

Guingamp witnessed the advent of the redhot Didier Drogba after he netted 17 goals in 34 games in his first full season at the club. His goals propelled Guingamp to seventh place at the end of the season and that was the record finish for the club. Guingamp have not bettered that seventh place finish till date.

Guingamp paid just £80,000 for Didier Drogba but ended up with a whooping £3.3m when they sold him to Olympique Marseille ahead of the 2003/04 season. Didier Drogba netted 19 goals in the league alone in his one and only season at Marseille. He also scored five goals in the UEFA Champions League and six more in the UEFA Cup. His form for Marseille led to the big bid from Premier League giants Chelsea. The Blues would sign Drogba at the end of his first campaign at Marseille. Chelsea paid £24m for the ex-Ivorian international attacker and he went on to become a club legend at Stamford Bridge.

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