The ex-Ivory Coast international has been praised for his contribution to humanity and he is set to be honoured for his efforts
Former Chelsea forward 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 provide educational assistance to millions of school children.
The forward 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 organizer 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,” Ceferin told Uefa website.
“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 UEFA Champions League has become the greatest club competition in the world, partly due to our clubs being able to attract the best players from around the world.
“We have been lucky to have seen the likes of George Weah, Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba play at the very highest level.
“They in turn, have blazed a trail for African footballers and have given inspiration to a whole new generation to look to follow in their footsteps.”
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
“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.