MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 19: Didier Drogba of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during UEFA Champions League Final between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea at the Fussball Arena München on May 19, 2012 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Didier Drogba Leaves Chelsea After 8 Seasons

Chelsea have confirmed that legendary striker Didier Drogba will be leaving the club when his contract expires this summer.

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Chelsea Confirm Didier Drogba Exit

The rumors were flying yesterday that Didier Drogba would not be signing a new deal with European Champions Chelsea, leaving as a free agent after eight years at Stamford Bridge. Although the quotes purporting to reveal Drogba's decision were dismissed by the player's agents, Chelsea themselves have now confirmed that the Ivorian is set to depart this summer:

Drogba leaves on a high, with the final kick of his career at the club the winning spot kick against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. It remains unclear as to just where he'll end up, with Shanghai Shenhua in China a rumored possibility, and with his performances in both the FA Cup and the Champions League this season there are sure to be several suitors for his services.

The 34-year-old made 338 appearances for the Blues following a big-money move from Marseille in 2004, scoring 157 goals in the process. He leaves as the club's fourth-highest scorer, and has won ten major honors in his time at Chelsea.

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Didier Drogba Leaving Chelsea, According To Reports

There's no concrete information -- only rumors -- about where Didier Drogba will play his football next season, but according to the player himself, he won't be playing for Chelsea. After eight seasons with the club, Drogba is leaving. He did an interview with France Football magazine in which he said he will be leaving Stamford Bridge for new challenges.

"We will no longer be together next season. As I decided to leave, I wanted to tell them straight in the eye. Except that I could not do it. They made me crack ... So that's it - I am preparing for my leap into the unknown. It's going to be another adventure."

Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History has said their goodbyes to Drogba. They're a bit sad, but very appreciative and wishing him the best going forward.

The time is right, I suppose. But the time will never really be right. I'll miss you, Didier. You were the powerhouse behind an incredible series of Chelsea teams, and your efforts have won us everything we could ever have hoped for. I don't know where you're going just yet, but I do know that you're going to kick its ass.

Drogba has been strongly linked to a move to Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, where his former teammate Nicolas Anelka is a player/coach, but neither Drogba or the team have made any kind of announcement.

For more on Drogba and the Blues, head over to Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History.

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Didier Drogba's Work Is Done

Didier Drogba is likely to leave Chelsea this summer for an enormous contract and a slightly cushier situation. He closed out the hyper-competitive stage of his career in the best way possible.

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