Didier Drogba excited by return to Champions League after joining Galatasaray

Former Chelsea striker has joined Turkish side on 18-month deal

Didier Drogba is relishing the chance to have another crack at the Champions League after sealing a return to Europe with Galatasaray.

The former Chelsea striker last night agreed to join the Turkish giants from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on an 18-month deal.

His representatives revealed on Twitter that the Ivory Coast international would join up with his new side following the African Nations Cup and Gala confirmed the deal on their official website.

Drogba memorably converted the winning penalty in the final shootout against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League for Chelsea for the first time last season. It turned out to be his last kick for the London club.

Explaining the reasons behind his move to Turkey, Drogba said through his representatives, Sports PR Company, on Twitter: "The opportunity to play for this great club was an offer that I could not turn down.

"I am looking forward to playing in the Champions League again, against the best clubs in Europe."

An emotional reunion with Chelsea is not possible, though, after the holders crashed out of the competition in the group stage.

Drogba's capture is the second marque signing within a week for Gala, coming hot on the heels of the arrival last week of Holland midfielder Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan.

Drogba's move to Turkey brings to an end a six-month stint in China.

The 34-year-old joined Shanghai last June, penning a two-and-a-half year deal reportedly worth £200,000 a week, but was repeatedly linked with a move back to Europe in recent months.

Last month Drogba returned to train with Chelsea during the Chinese off-season in preparation for the African Nations Cup in South Africa.

FIFA rejected a special request from the striker for him to join a club on loan outside the transfer window, amid speculation linking him with Juventus, AC Milan and Liverpool, among others.

Despite his protests to the contrary, reports persisted that Drogba's move to China had not worked out, largely due to boardroom wrangling, and he has now left the Far East to return to Europe.

Gala are five points clear at the top of the Super Lig standings and are through to the last 16 of the Champions League, where they face Schalke.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?