May 23, 2012
End of an era ... Didier Drogba is set to leave Chelsea. Photo: Reuters
Newly crowned European champions Chelsea have confirmed that Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of June.
Drogba has been at the London club since 2004, joining from French side Marseille.
The 34-year-old scored a late equaliser against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on Saturday and then converted the decisive penalty in a dramatic shoot-out after extra-time.
"I wanted to put an end to the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea," he told Chelsea's website.
"It has been a very difficult decision for me to make and I am very proud of what we have achieved, but the time is right for a new challenge for me."
English media have linked the Ivorian target man - scorer of 55 goals in his 84 international appearances - with Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, where his former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka is player-coach.