France Football claims the 34-year-old striker announced his departure to teammates a day after leading the Blues to their first-ever European championship. He didn’t, however, say where he’d be playing next season.
The report contradicts Drogba’s most recent statement, which left the door open to possibly extending his stay at Chelsea.
“You do not make decisions in emotional moments like this,” he said after scoring the game-winning penalty against Bayern Munich in Saturday’s final.
At the same time, the Ivorian international was non-committal about his immediate plans.
“I don’t talk about the future. The most important thing is what we achieved.”
Drogba and Chelsea are set to begin talks next week to discuss a possible new contract, although an agreement seems unlikely. The team is reportedly unwilling to offer its aging star player anything more than a one-year extension, while Drogba wants a multi-year deal that will all but secure him financially for the rest of his career.
“I think we have to do what’s best for Chelsea Football Club and Didier has to do what’s best for him,” Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said of the impending talks.
Drogba’s teammates, on the other hand, have been far more outspoken about keeping him on board for next season. Frank Lampard ranked the Ivorian among the greatest forwards in the game, which would entitle him to a massive pay raise.
“People talk about whether this is his last game for Chelsea, but he has been an absolute hero for this club,” Lampard told ESPN. “People talk about Henry, Rooney, the great strikers, but he is right up there. People that score in finals and in the big games, he is right up there.”
Should negotiations break down with Chelsea, there will be plenty of suitors willing to meet Drogba’s demands. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City, among other high-profile clubs, are all reportedly in the running for the forward, although his most likely destination will be Shanghai Shenhua.
Just what makes this obscure Chinese team so appealing to Drogba? The roughly $318,500 weekly salary he would command over the next two years.