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Beating Bayern did it for Drogba.

WINNING the Champions League after a painstaking wait convinced Didier Drogba that the time was right to leave Chelsea.

The Ivory Coast striker, who scored the equaliser and winning penalty in Saturday's dramatic final win over Bayern Munich, has announced that he is leaving the club to pursue a career elsewhere.

He departs Stamford Bridge with his reputation as one of the club's greatest-ever players firmly intact, but he knows it could have been so much different.

Ever since the 34-yearold joined the club from Marseille in 2004 they have been chasing the European Cup and, after so many near misses, Drogba's final kick for them earned the prize they coveted so much.

Had he not scored and Bayern gone on to win, he admits he may have been tempted to stay but, with all his loose ends tied up, he is moving on to a new chapter.

He said: "I think winning the game was the key.

"Not me scoring the penalty.

"Winning the game was the turning point, that's why I have decided to say goodbye.

"We made the story together, I want people to remember that. This is the best time to move on.

"Yes, there's a chance that if the result was different, maybe I would be here.

"We were talking for many weeks, but the turning point was based on the fact I won everything I could and scored in most of the finals we have played.

"I hope everyone will understand. Everything I did was for the fans and I hope they understand."

Goalkeeper Petr Cech claimed he heard his team-mate crying after the final.

But Drogba insisted: "I wasn't crying - I was talking to myself. I was crazy for a few minutes."

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LEAVING Didier Drogba
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 23, 2012
Words:294
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