May 22, 2012, 3:17 PM EDT
Remember yesterday? Yeah, me either. Those brain cells have long since passed. But I’m told within that last 24 hours we’ve seen Didier Drogba’s departure, his agent responding by hitting the brakes, and yet another about face. Gotta love soccer rumors, right?
As it turns out, Didier’s really gone. I know, right? I’m broken-hearted, too, but given a second 180-degree turn since yesterday’s lunch, it bears asking: How do we know for sure? I’d use the guideline “pinky swears, or it didn’t happen” (Drogba and Roman Abramovich awkwardly navigating a pinky swear – gold), but I’m under the impression international soccer doesn’t use the same negotiating techniques D.J. and Stephanie employed to get a later bedtime from Danny.
No matter the method, the club confirmed it today: Drogs is gone. After eight years of service and exactly 100 Premier League goals, the Ivorian icon will clear out his locker, though not before saying goodbye to the Stamford Bridge faithful:
‘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.’
Drogba’s tone was echoed by club CEO Ron Gourlay:
‘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. He is welcome back to Stamford Bridge at any time – either as a player or as a guest of ours.’
What’s next for Drogba? We talked about that yesterday. What’s next for Chelsea? Who knows (expect, perhaps, the third-party that owns Radamel Falcao’s contract).
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