Didier Drogba leaving Chelsea

Updated: May 22, 2012, 4:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

LONDON -- Didier Drogba's Champions League-winning penalty kick was his last contribution to Chelsea. The striker said Tuesday he is leaving the club after eight years.

The 34-year-old Ivory Coast star clinched Chelsea's first European title with the last kick in a shootout against Bayern Munich on Saturday. That came after he had tied the score to force extra time.

"Even the greatest stories come to an end," he wrote on his official website. "My contract is finished and I am now prepared to leave the Blues."

The Champions goals took his total to 157 in 341 appearances for Chelsea, fourth-most in club history. Now he wants to find a new club as his playing career enters its closing stages.

"Didier is undoubtedly a Chelsea legend and will always be part of the Chelsea family. He is certainly leaving on a high after Saturday night but he feels the time is right for a new challenge," Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said.

Drogba is a two-time African Player of the Year, and won 10 titles with Chelsea, with three Premier League championships, four FA Cups, two Carling Cups and the crown jewel, the Champions League.

He has been widely linked with a move to China, where former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka went in January to join Shanghai Shenhua. The former French star is now a coach with the team.

"As a team we have accomplished so much and have won every single trophy possible," Drogba said. "Saturday was a very special moment for everyone at the club and for all the fans, and I am very proud to have played my part in bringing many trophies to this club."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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