He was reported to be making a move to India this summer, but once again the MLS in the US have gained the upper hand. The hopes of Indian football fans watching Chelsea legend Didier Drogba play in a stadium near them have been quashed, as the striker has completed his move to MLS side Montreal Impact.
'Drogba to Atletico de Kolkata' gained momentum just days back after one of the FA-licensed UK-based agents revealed that he has received contact from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, the owners of ISL champions ATK.
The Madrid side wanted their Kolkata franchisee of the ISL to have the 37-year-old join the club as the marquee player for Indian Super League 2.0, and the La Liga giants were reported to have offered the Ivorian $1million (₹6.4 crore) to become the marquee player for their ISL franchise.
The fee excluded other incentives like bonuses as well and taking care of additional cost of living expenses incurred in India.
However, getting the Ivory Coast goalscorer to play in India is not easy, and the agent – Baljit Rihal – had spoken about it earlier.
"ATK asked me to enquire about Drogba as an intermediary, but it seems that the offer won't get accepted. His representatives have seen the offer but have not responded at all. Looks like the MLS is a likely destination," Baljit had said to Firstpost.
And that is exactly what took place -
The 37-year-old moves to the eighth club in his senior club football career as he joined Montreal Impact.
So, was it really the amount that made the four-time Premier League winner with Chelsea to make the move to the MLS side? One may wonder.
According to a statement released by the MLS side, the club agreed to snap up the player "in a trade with the Chicago Fire, in return for general and targeted allocation money."
This has been explained better by ESPN, who have stated that the deal struck between Impact and Fire will see Drogba sign an 18-month contract "in excess of $3 million per year."
Far more than what Atletico Madrid/Atletico de Kolkata wanted or could offer Drogba.
Drogba had himself shown interest to play in Montreal, and this has been mentioned by the Impact president.
"From the first conversation I had with him, I felt that he really wanted to play in Montreal. This is one of the biggest days in club history and his arrival to the club will be beneficial in every aspect." Impact President Joey Saputo said.
According to the MLS policy however, the details of the deal have not been revealed.
Italy legend Andrea Pirlo was another who snubbed a move to the ISL over joining MLS side New York City FC. A big revelation was made only last month, that the veteran playmaker could have been an Indian Super League player.
The major big names getting set to plying their trade in the ISL this season include Brazil veteran Roberto Carlos (Delhi Dynamos), French striker Nicolas Anelka (Mumbai City FC), former Selecao defensive rock Lucio (FC Goa), and Portuguese winger Simao (NorthEast United FC).