Chelsea legend Didier Drogba buys top America football club Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising FC, a Valley soccer team with Major League Soccer aspirations, made a major-league move Wednesday when it signed soccer legend Didier Drogba to a contract.

"Drogba will help develop the team as a player before advancing to an executive role with the Phoenix MLS expansion franchise", the club said on its official website.

For his part Drogba is clear that this is the next stage of his career and the transition towards the end of his playing days.

"I'm still a player but it's important to respect the decision of the manager", added Drogba, who is Ivory Coast's record goalscorer.

Didier Drogba believes that "little brother" Romelu Lukaku can be a big success with Chelsea if pushing through a move from Everton in the summer.

He noted that as a co-owner, he will have a say on things like new signings and making proposals about what is best for the club.

He scored 157 goals in 341 appearances during his first spell at Chelsea, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League. "The addition of Drogba in Phoenix, as well as the numerous other world class and domestic players competing in the USL speaks volumes to the professional-quality environment our league continues to build". His presence in Phoenix - alongside two other marquee players in Shaun Wright-Phillips and the Mexican worldwide Omar Bravo - serves both to showcase the team's intent and to dazzle MLS with glamour. "I spoke many times with Roman Abramovich and, trust me, it's not easy to be an owner of a football club", he said.

"They called me and asked me to be the face of the franchise", he said.

Chelsea are now seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table as they prepare for their crunch clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

Chelsea is home for me.

Phoenix have also signed ex- England winger Shaun Wright- Phillips and are ready to recruit more Premier League stars. "I also applaud Didier's commitment to further the overall growth of the game in North America".

  • Julie Sanders