By Piers Edwards
Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba has had a sequence of wonderful years, but 2007 will surely go down as one of the best.
And if 2006, with trips to both the Nations Cup and the World Cup, was all about the Elephants, then 2007 was all about his club.
Chelsea lost the title to Manchester United by six points, but both fans and foes say the race would not have been so close without Drogba.
He was the Premier League's top scorer with 20 goals, a tally that was nearly a third of Chelsea's entire league total.
In addition, his 33 goals overall made him the first man in more than two decades to break the 30-goal barrier for the Blues.
Many of these strikes were decisive - few more so than the goals he scored in English football's two big finals.
In March's League Cup final, Chelsea beat London rivals Arsenal 2-1 thanks to a brace from Drogba.
In May, he went one better, scoring the only goal of the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley, against Manchester United.
His fellow footballers duly recognised his efforts when naming him runner-up behind Ronaldo in the Players' Player of the Year awards.
Over the years Didier Drogba has proved himself to be tremendously resilient - and that quality of toughness has been proved in 2007.
Shortly after the restart of the season in England, the man who brought him to Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, left Stamford Bridge amidst acrimony.
Drogba was devastated, and said so publicly.
But his new coach Avram Grant knew better than to take offence.
He is trying to follow Mourinho by winning the league again, and go one better than the Portuguese by winning the Champions League.
And if he is to achieve those goals, then he needs Didier Drogba, firing on all cylinders.
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