INSIDE DROGBA’S SON ISAAC: A LEGEND IN THE MAKE?.
Isaac Drogba will be looking to follow his own path as he tries to carve a career for himself in the Italian fourth division, but he couldn’t help creating parallels with his legendary father Didier after netting his first goal as a professional for Folgore Caratese this weekend.
It was simple enough, collecting a pass inside the six-yard box and smashing home from an angle – and out went the arms as he jabbed his hands in and out, just like dad used to do for Chelsea for so many years.
Being the son of an iconic player who scored almost 300 career goals and who nearly single-handedly won the Champions League for Chelsea is a tough enough burden.
That classic celebration sent social media into a frenzy and raised the expectations that bit higher for Drogba Jnr – with fans keen to see him replicate the former Ivory Coast international’s feats.
Not much is known about the 20-year-old – but here’s the lowdown.
WHAT’S THE STORY SO FAR?
Born in Paris but raised in England, Isaac took a liking to Arsenal, according to his father, annoying him by wearing the Gunners shirt around the house and idolising his rival Thierry Henry.
Having grown up in the UK while Drogba Snr was playing for Chelsea, he was taken on by the Blues for a spell in their academy, thanks to his connections in the family. But quickly it became clear he wasn’t going to get a proper shot at Stamford Bridge.
Just like Drogba Snr, Isaac moved on to Guingamp in 2018 – 16 years after his father joined the club for £80,000 in his early days.
Didier couldn’t hide his pride about his son’s move at the time, writing on social media: ‘Couldn’t be more proud of you Isaac Drogba.’ Young Drogba also had the full support of two more Chelsea legends.
Frank Lampard responded to his former team-mate: ‘Congratulations! I remember Isaac as the small polite boy! Now a man!’ And John Terry replied: ‘Can’t believe how big he is mate, congratulations.’
However, it’s fair to say the dream switch didn’t quite go to plan, as he was unable to break through to the first team – instead having to settle for appearances for the club’s B team. Eventually he was released – being forced to look for a new club last summer.
He remained a free agent up until February this year, when he was given a chance by Folgore Caratese, who play in Italy’s Serie D.
WHAT HAS HE GOT?
There’s no question that the kid can finish.
Clips of Isaac in training show he has plenty of ambition and a clinical edge to his play, and he opts to shoot from distance often and gets a lot of accuracy on his efforts as he often finds the top corner of the net.
Possibly the first piece of footage displaying his skills shows a confident young Drogba, no older than 10 or 11, cutting in from the left hand side of the pitch and curling a shot into the top right.
But consistency and delivering on the big occasion is what has let him down after taking so long so break his duck as a professional – summing up his early struggles to nail down regular football and having to go down to the fourth tier.
Perhaps what he lacks, in addition, is the physicality and strength which his father was renowned for. Should he add an aerial threat to his game, then he could take his game to another level.
HOW FAR CAN HE GO?
Considering we’ve seen so little of Isaac, it’s difficult to say how far he could go in the game, but he certainly looks to be more comfortable in Serie D. He’s only been there a month and already has his first goal.
Getting regular game time will be a huge benefit to him in developing his game – all he can do now is keep taking opportunities and he’ll gain more attention.
We should remember that his father was something of a late bloomer – it wasn’t until he was 21 years old that he signed his first professional contract with Le Mans in 1998, and he joined Chelsea aged 26 in 2004, only then establishing himself among the elite.
WHAT ABOUT HIS INTERNATIONAL FUTURE?
Since Isaac was born in Paris, he’s eligible to play for France, as well as the Ivory Coast – the birthplace of his father. But having grown up in the UK while Drogba Snr was starring for Chelsea, he wants to represent the Three Lions one day.
‘My son was playing for Chelsea and I asked him – which nationality do you want to play for?,’ Drogba Snr said in 2015.
‘He’s French, but he said he does not want to play for Ivory Coast or France, he wants to play for England.
‘Even when I was in China, I said to (my children) “do you want to come and live with me?”, but they said that they would come to see me on holidays.’
WHAT’S BEEN SAID?
After netting his first professional goal, Folgore Caratese called him ‘extraordinary and wonderful’, having come on as a sub to win the game 1-0 in the 87th minute.