Didier Drogba announces plan to retire from football next year

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As well as being Phoenix's star player, the Ivorian is also an owner of the club, and it is his off-field ventures that the 39-year-old wants to concentrate on going forward.

"I think next year will be my last season", he admitted. "There comes a time when you have to stop", said Drogba, who is reportedly aiming to follow in David Beckham's footsteps and attempt to launch his own MLS franchise. I need to have time for my other projects. "It's good to play, but at 39 [age] holds me back a bit".

Provided Drogba does play into next year it means his professional senior career would have spanned an incredible 20 years.

He's best known for his spells at Chelsea.

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Since leaving Chelsea, Drogba has had brief spells with Shanghai Shenhua, Galatasaray, Montreal Impact and is now with Rising FC.

Drogba, 39, is now plying his trade for Phoenix Rising in America's USL where he also owns a stake in the club, and reveals this season will be his last as a professional footballer.

As if scripted, it was Drogba who stepped up to the penalty spot and calmly found the back of the net to give Chelsea their first ever Champions League victory.

Although there is no promotion or relegation between leagues in North American soccer, USL is seen as being one level below Major League Soccer, and equal to the rival North American Soccer League (NASL), which features clubs like New York Cosmos and Tampa Bay Rowdies.

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