Africa

Last updated: 27 november, 2009 - 18:46 GMT

Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba began 2009 in the footballing doldrums. Frozen out of the Chelsea reckoning by then coach Luis Felipe Scolari, the Ivorian striker had scored just one goal in 10 matches by the time February arrived.

Didier Drogba

He ends the year with a place at the 2010 World Cup secured, with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League and challenging in the Champions League, an FA Cup winner’s medal in the bag and widely recognised as the most influential striker in English football.

He has 12 goals for this season so far for Chelsea and has finally forged a partnership with Nicolas Anelka.

On the international stage, he scored six times in five games in Ivory Coast's 2010 qualifying campaign, including the goal which finally took them to the World Cup – an equaliser against Malawi which he scored minutes after coming on as a substitute in Blantyre.

Along the way there were some terrible hiccups – his foul-mouthed fury, live on television, after Chelsea were eliminated from last season's Champions League, brought a lengthy ban. But, whatever his behaviour in that instance, his status as a striker cannot be denied.

When Drogba is on form, Chelsea and Ivory Coast do well – and in 2009 he has been on supreme form.

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