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Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba retires from international play

Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba retires from international play Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images

Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba has retired from international play, Drogba announced Friday on Twitter.

Drogba, 36, earned his first cap for the Ivory Coast men's national team in 2002. He became Ivory Coast's captain in 2006, helping the team qualify for its first ever FIFA World Cup that same year in Germany, where it was eliminated in group play.

Ivory Coast reached the World Cup again in 2010 and again was eliminated in the group stage, but Drogba became the first ever African player to score against Brazil in Ivory Coast's 3-1 loss.

At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil this summer, Drogba came on as a substitute in Ivory Coast's first two games before starting the final one. The team narrowly missed qualifying for the knockout round, falling one point short of second-place Greece.

Drogba also captained Ivory Coast to the Africa Cup of Nations final in 2006 and 2012, the team's second and third finals appearances in history.

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The striker has enjoyed a distinguished club career as well, notably with Chelsea. Drogba recently signed a one-year deal to return to Chelsea after two years away from the club.

The two-time African Footballer of the Year scored 65 goals in 104 international matches over his 13-year career.

Drogba's international career occurred during a period in which Ivory Coast was often besieged by civil war and ethnic conflict. The national team, under Drogba's leadership, has been given some credit for helping ease tensions within the country.

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- Ben Estes

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