Didier Drogba

Why Do People Hate Didier Drogba?

Didier Drogba is a retired Ivorian footballer who played as a striker. He is best known for his time at Chelsea where he became a club legend, scoring over 150 goals and winning numerous trophies.

However, despite his success, Drogba has also attracted a lot of hatred from fans of opposing teams over the years. There are several reasons why some football fans dislike Didier Drogba:

Playing Style and Personality Divided Opinion

Drogba’s forceful playing style and over-the-top goal celebrations made him a polarizing figure in English football.

A Powerful and Physical Striker

  • Drogba used his strength and athleticism to overpower defenders. His aggressive and confrontational style upset opposition fans.
  • He had an ability to draw fouls through his power and balance. This led to accusations of diving and play-acting.
  • His relentless approach meant he was always a handful for defenders. This physicality bred resentment.

Theatrical Goal Celebrations

  • Drogba was known for his dramatic celebrations after scoring. This included kneeling slides and passionate fist-pumping.
  • He loved to celebrate right in front of opposing fans, riling them up. This theatricism aggravated rival supporters.
  • Some saw his celebrations as over-the-top and unnecessarily provocative. This contributed to his ‘arrogant’ image.

Perceived Arrogance and Ego

  • Drogba had a very high opinion of himself and his abilities as a striker. To some, he came across as arrogant and egotistical.
  • He was not afraid to chastise his own teammates for mistakes on the pitch. This frustrated some fans.
  • His demeanor led to a reputation as a sulker and brooder when things weren’t going his way.

Performances Against Rival Teams

Drogba developed a knack for scoring decisive goals against rival clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham. Fans of these teams grew to hate playing against him.

Scoring Decisive Goals in Big Games

OpponentGoals Scored
Manchester Utd10
  • He scored many late equalizers and winners against rivals in key games over the years.
  • Several of his goals knocked rivals out of cup competitions or dented their title challenges.
  • His goalscoring record against other top teams contributed to his ‘big game player’ image.

FA Cup Final Record

  • Drogba scored in four separate FA Cup finals, all of which Chelsea won.
  • This included the winner in 2007 against Manchester United and equalizer against Everton in 2009.
  • No other player has scored in as many FA Cup finals, cementing his reputation as a big game player.

UEFA Champions League Final Heroics

  • Drogba scored a late equalizer against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final before scoring the winning penalty.
  • This cemented his legacy at Chelsea but also denied Bayern the trophy in their home stadium.
  • He scored in the 2008 final and played a key role in the miracle comeback against Barcelona in 2005.

Perception He Was Overly Protected by Referees

There was a lingering perception among some fans that referees were lenient towards Drogba and protected him more than other players.

Avoiding Bookings and Red Cards

  • Drogba was often accused of using sneaky, unsportsmanlike tactics against defenders.
  • However, he managed to avoid red cards during his Premier League career. This led to accusations of favoritism from officials.
  • Some felt he deserved more yellow cards for his confrontational approach but was spared due to his status.

Seen as Going Down Too Easily

  • As mentioned, Drogba had a knack for drawing fouls and going down under challenges.
  • Opposition fans often claimed he went down too easily or exaggerated contact to win free kicks and penalties.
  • There was a perception among rival supporters that officials enabled this behavior from Drogba.

Jose Mourinho’s Influence

  • Jose Mourinho, who managed Drogba twice at Chelsea, was known for accusing referees of bias against his teams.
  • Some felt officials were intimidated by Mourinho’s mind games and protected Drogba from punishment as a result.
  • Mourinho’s conspiratorial approach to officiating lent credence to the ‘favored striker’ narrative about Drogba.

Role in Chelsea’s Success Under Abramovich

The oil money fueling Chelsea’s success under Roman Abramovich bred resentment, and Drogba was the poster boy for this new superpower team.

Perceived as a Mercenary

  • Drogba’s big money move from Marseille to Chelsea in 2004 typified the new era of foreign superstars lured by Abramovich’s billions.
  • He came to represent the team of superstar mercenaries that many fans felt went against the traditional values of English football.

Olympic Sized Diving Pool Jokes

  • Rival fans mocked Chelsea for having an ‘Olympic sized diving pool’ at their training ground for the likes of Drogba to practice their diving.
  • This spoke to the distaste at the money Abramovich lavished on Chelsea to purchase success.

Resurgence Under Mourinho

  • Drogba’s partnership with Mourinho represented the dawn of a new era of sustained success at Chelsea.
  • This marked the end of Chelsea’s image as flashy underachievers and bred resentment among rivals.
  • Between 2004-2015, Chelsea won 15 major trophies. Drogba was the talismanic striker under Abramovich.

Tendency to Lose His Temper

Drogba had a fiery temper on the pitch throughout his career, occasionally boiling over into violent conduct that marred his reputation.

Red Card in 2008 Champions League Final

  • Drogba was sent off in extra time against Manchester United for slapping defender Nemanja Vidic.
  • This moment of madness cost Chelsea dearly as they lost on penalties. It cemented Drogba’s hot-headed image.

Off the Ball Kicking Antics

  • In 2006, Drogba was caught on camera bizarrely kicking Tottenham defender Pascal Chimbonda in the ribs while play went on elsewhere.
  • This only added to his reputation for sneaky, underhand tactics when frustration got the better of him.

Confrontations with Referees and Opponents

  • Drogba confronted referees aggressively on many occasions, escaping punishment due to his intimidating stature.
  • He once bizarrely accusedBurnley’s Paul Gascoigne of racially abusing him, a claim dismissed by the FA.
  • These incidents of petulance left a stain on his playing legacy.

Work as an ‘Ambassador’ After Retirement

In retirement, Drogba has worked closely with various unsavory political figures and organizations, damaging his once iconic status among football fans.

Promoting Dubious African Leaders

  • Drogba has been criticized for using his profile to promote controversial African politicians, seen by some as an attempt to eventually enter politics himself.
  • In 2020, he met with Yoweri Museveni, the authoritarian ruler of Uganda seeking re-election amid violence and corruption allegations.

Working With Controversial NGO

  • Drogba works closely with the NGO Peace and Sport, which has been accused of operating opaquely and misusing funds.
  • Their president Joel Bouzou was suspended from the IOC for falsifying his sporting achievements on his CV.
  • This choice of partnership has tarnished Drogba’s post-career reputation.

Refusal to Support Super League Criticism

  • While many ex-players criticized the European Super League in 2021, Drogba refused to condemn it.
  • He continued to work with Florentino Perez of Real Madrid, one of the key figures behind the doomed breakaway.
  • This led to accusations he had betrayed his playing days values due to greed and commercial interests.

Why Do Some Football Fans Still Love Didier Drogba?

While Didier Drogba is hated by many opposition fans, he remains a cult hero for Chelsea supporters and some neutral football fans. There are several reasons for his enduring popularity:

Irreplaceable Goalscoring Record for Chelsea

Drogba scored over 150 goals during his trophy-laden time at Chelsea and delivered in the biggest games, leaving an indelible mark in the club’s history.

  • He is Chelsea’s fourth all-time leading goalscorer with 164 goals in 381 appearances across two spells.
  • His goalscoring feats include:
    • The only player to score in four separate FA Cup finals
    • Chelsea’s Champions League record goalscorer with 36 goals
    • Scored nine cup final goals for Chelsea, another club record
  • Drogba always delivered when it mattered most – his cup final record epitomizes this.

Role in Chelsea’s First Champions League Triumph

Drogba was the talismanic hero of Chelsea’s miracle 2012 Champions League victory – the club’s crowning achievement to date.

Equalizer Against Bayern

  • With seconds left and Bayern leading, Drogba scored a towering header to take the game to extra time and penalties.
  • This goal alone sealed his place in Chelsea folklore forever.

The Decisive Penalty

  • Drogba stepped up to score the winning penalty in the shootout, beating Manuel Neuer to win Chelsea’s first European crown.
  • It was a storybook ending to an epic game for the ages.

Motivating Captain’s Performance

  • As captain, Drogba dragged his team through the final with a warrior-like performance against the odds.
  • His leadership that night exemplified his motivational importance to the team as a whole.

Charismatic Persona and Connection to Fans

While rival fans disliked his egotistical antics, Chelsea supporters loved Drogba for his charisma, chest-thumping passion and connection to the Stamford Bridge faithful.

Larger Than Life Character

  • Drogba had an extroverted, outgoing personality that resonated with Chelsea fans.
  • His goal celebrations at the Matthew Harding end became iconic moments supporters adored.
  • He understood what it meant to play for Chelsea and always gave 100% for the shirt.

Special Bond with Fans

  • In his autobiography, Drogba described his ‘special chemistry’ with Chelsea supporters.
  • The adoration was mutual – fans created songs and chants in his honor and forged a unique bond with him.
  • Drogba said scoring in cup finals was his way of paying fans back for their support.

Provided hope during turmoil

  • Off the pitch, Drogba was credited with holding the dressing room together when managers came and went.
  • His commitment never wavered during the dark days of Jose Mourinho’s departures and fan unrest over lack of stability.

Seen as the Complete Package as a Striker

At his peak, Drogba had all the attributes of the complete striker – pace, power, technique and intelligence. He was the Premier League’s ultimate physical force.

Unique Physical Profile

  • Standing at 6’2″ with a muscular frame, Drogba used his physique to dominate defenders.
  • His blend of speed, strength and balance made him almost impossible to dispossess when in full flow.

Intelligent Link-Up Play

  • While powerful, Drogba also had velvet feet and brilliant technique.
  • His deft flicks and link up play brought others like Frank Lampard into the game.

Clinical Finisher

  • While an unplayable handful, Drogba also possessed ice cool finishing.
  • He scored every type of goal from bullet headers to 30-yard screamers.
  • Inside or outside the box, Drogba could finish with either foot.


In summary, while Didier Drogba is understandably disliked by fans of rival clubs due to his confrontational style, dramatic antics and role in Chelsea’s controversial rise to prominence, he retains a special cult hero status among Chelsea supporters for his phenomenal goalscoring exploits and iconic status as the talisman of the club’s golden era.

For Chelsea fans, Drogba’s tireless commitment, special connection to supporters, heroic cup final goals and legendary status as the figurehead of the 2012 Champions League win cement him as one of the all-time greats. He lived and breathed Chelsea Football Club.

However, opposition supporters had to face the brute force of Drogba at his peak, with his theatrical celebrations and perceived favoritism from officials riling up rival fans and leading to a lingering resentment that remains to this day. Overall, Didier Drogba was a polarizing yet remarkably talented striker who defined an era for Chelsea.

Frequently Asked Questions about Why People Hate Didier Drogba

What playing style did Drogba have that upset fans?

Drogba had an extremely physical, confrontational style that often angered defenders. He used his strength and balance to brush off challenges, which led to accusations of excessive force, diving, and playacting. His forceful approach made him difficult to play against.

Why did people think Drogba was arrogant?

Drogba had a reputation for arrogance due to his demonstrative goal celebrations right in front of opposing fans, perceived ego and sulking, and public criticism of teammates. He was not afraid to berate teammates for mistakes and had a very high self-confidence.

Which big rival clubs did Drogba enjoy scoring against?

Drogba loved scoring against Chelsea’s big rivals. He scored 13 goals against Arsenal, 10 against Manchester United, and 9 against Tottenham. He had a knack for game-changing goals in these crunch fixtures.

What Champions League feats made people hate Drogba?

Drogba was the scourge of European teams in the Champions League. He scored Chelsea’s winning penalty in the 2012 final, as well as late equalizers against Man United and Bayern. His cup final record cemented his big game status.

Why did people think referees were lenient with Drogba?

Many felt Drogba was adept at avoiding bookings and red cards despite his confrontational approach. He was accused of diving and playacting but escaped punishment. Some thought his talent and status led to favoritism from officials.

How did Abramovich’s money impact perceptions of Drogba?

Drogba’s huge transfer fee in 2004 typified Chelsea’s lavish spending under Abramovich. Fans felt Chelsea bought success and Drogba was the poster boy for this. Rivals mocked the club for having a ‘diving pool’ for players like Drogba.

What controversial off-field associations has Drogba made?

In retirement, Drogba has associated with dictators like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda to promote ‘sport and peace’. He is also closely linked to the controversial NGO Peace and Sport. This has damaged his reputation.

Why do some still view Drogba as a legend?

For Chelsea fans, Drogba is a club legend due to his phenomenal goalscoring record, medals haul, and iconic status as the hero of the 2012 Champions League win. His charisma and special bond with fans adds to his legendary status at Stamford Bridge.

What made Drogba such a great all-round striker?

At his peak, Drogba had it all – power, pace, intelligent link up play, physicality, and clinical finishing. His blend of attributes made him almost impossible to play against and the Premier League’s most complete striker.

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