Former Chelsea and Cote d’Ivoire star Didier Drogba is to receive the UEFA President’s Award for being a “leader and pioneer”, the European football governing body said on Tuesday.
UEFA said the award to the 42-year-old Drogba will also be for his “commitment to excellence on and off the pitch”.
The former Cote d’Ivoire captain will be honoured on Thursday in Switzerland at the draw for the group phase of the 2020/2021 UEFA Champions League.
“Didier is a hero to millions of football fans for his achievements throughout his glittering playing career,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said.
“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.”
Drogba won several titles with Chelsea, including the 2012 UEFA Champions League when he scored against Bayern Munich in the final match, which was eventually settled on penalty kicks.
He also represented his country at the FIFA World Cup and has a foundation which provides educational opportunities for children.
“To have won a UEFA Champions League, to have played and scored for my country at a FIFA World Cup —- these are things I could only have dreamed of when I was a child,” said Drogba.
UEFA said the award recognises “outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities”.
It has previously been won by Bobby Charlton, Eusebio, Raymond Kopa, Johan Cruyff, Francesco Totti, David Beckham and Eric Cantona