Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has been selected for the 2020 UEFA President’s award for his ‘commitment to excellence on and off the pitch’.
The 42-year-old has been transforming lives since his retirement from professional football through his foundation which provides educational assistance to millions of school children.
He made a name for himself during his time with the Stamford Bridge outfit, where he enjoyed two stints, winning a number of laurels, including the Champions League.
The organiser of the award, Aleksander Ceferin has hailed the contribution of the former Marseille forward to humanity as well as the opportunity the top European competition afforded African players.
“Didier is a hero to millions of football fans for his achievements throughout his glittering playing career,” Aleksander Ceferin said.
“He is a leader – a pioneer. I will remember him as a player for his skill, strength and intelligence, but above all for his insatiable appetite to succeed – a trait which is just as present in his desire to help others off the field of play.
The Abidjan-born star is delighted to reach the height of his career, having also played at the World Cup with Ivory Coast, and hopes to inspire children to realize their ambition.
“To have won a Champions League, to have played and scored for my country at a World Cup – these are things I could only have dreamed of when I was a child,” said Drogba
He added: “There are so many children in the developing world who have the potential to become not only footballers but also doctors, teachers and engineers. This is why it is so important to help and support our youngsters to let them fulfil their dreams and aspirations.”
The award recognizes professional excellence and has been won by legends such as Sir Bobby Charlton, Eusébio, Raymond Kopa, Johan Cruyff, Francesco Totti, David Beckham and Eric Cantona.
Drogba will be honoured with the award in Geneva during Thursday’s UEFA Champions League draw.
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