It looks like the Montreal Impact and owner Joey Saputo already are getting their money’s worth from Didier Drogba.
The Ivorian icon celebrated his first MLS start over the weekend with a stunning hat trick, leading the Impact, who had just fired coach Frank Klopas, to a wild 4-3 win over the visiting Chicago Fire. The two sellouts since he made his debut late last month have been the only full houses at StadeSaputo in the past two seasons.
The Impact are getting all that, and perhaps more, for an annual base salary of just $1.67 million. SI.com understands that Drogba’s 18-month contract is worth approximately $3.5 million in total. He’ll be paid half his base salary in 2015 since he didn’t sign until late July and then the full amount next year. In addition, he’ll receive a marketing bonus worth around $1 million spread across the life of the contract.
That base figure makes him Montreal’s highest paid player by some distance, surpassing the $400,000 earned by Ignacio Piatti. (Costa Rican midfielder Johan Venegas’s salary is unknown, but it’s safe to assume it’s less than Drogba’s). But Drogba’s wages are significantly lower than those paid to other big-name summer arrivals such as Frank Lampard ($6 million base), Andrea Pirlo ($2 million), Steven Gerrard ($6.2 million) and Giovani dos Santos ($4 million).
Drogba is 37, the same age as Lampard and a year older than Pirlo, and certainly seems just as capable of delivering in the short term.
The 2012 UEFA Champions League winner said following his hat trick, which he tallied with an aching toe, that he was committed to raising the standard in Montreal.
“For me, it’s not a good result,” he told reporters. “The most important thing is that you get the three points. But when you look at the game itself, you know we’ve got a lot of things to change and to work on. There’s always room for improvement in this team.”
The Impact, now being being coached by former assistant Mauro Biello, are 9-11-4 and have a one-point cushion, as well as four games in hand, over the Philadelphia Union for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Drogba and Montreal visit the LA Galaxy on Saturday.