Report: Didier Drogba retiring to leave Montreal Impact for Chelsea coaching role

Drogba Chelsea

The Blues legend joined the MLS club last summer after ending his second spell at Stamford Bridge.

The Didier Drogba era could be over for the Montreal Impact after less than six months.

According to L’Equipe, the 37-year-old striker is set to retire as a player in order to return to former club Chelsea to join the new Stamford Bridge set-up as part of interim manager Guus Hiddink’s backroom staff.

The ex-Ivory Coast international has reportedly informed Impact president Joey Saputo of his decision, which had been rumoured to be in the works since last month, when he watched his old side’s 3-1 home win over Sunderland from the stands alongside chairman Roman Abramovich and Hiddink.

Hiddink, who was placed in charge of the club until the end of the season following Jose Mourinho’s sacking in mid-December, later confirmed that efforts were being made to bring the Blues legend back to west London but would not reveal at the time what his exact role would be.

Speaking about Drogba, who he also managed during his previous spell as Chelsea interim boss in 2009, the Dutchman told the Telegraph: “I worked with him five or six years ago and I was delighted to have such a professional in the squad.

“He is a legend already in this club, but also outside this club in the world. So it's nice for guys with these big hearts to connect them somehow with the club. But he is playing for Montreal, under contract.

“All the big clubs, and the smaller ones, have these specific guys, figures, who can go into whatever they like – coach, ambassador, manager – but they must be given the opportunity to do so. They give the Chelsea brand a big image, worldwide.”

Losing Drogba would of course be an enormous blow to Montreal given the impact – no pun intended – he made in MLS over the second half of the 2015 season.

The veteran forward originally joined the club as a Designated Player last July after ending his second spell at Chelsea and went on to score 11 times in just 11 regular season games to help them secure a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

He subsequently added one more goal to his collection during the playoffs before his side suffered a 4-3 aggregate defeat to Columbus Crew SC in the Conference Semifinals, which could now prove his MLS swansong.

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch