Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and France’s World Cup and European Championship winner Youri Djorkaeff have been named as ambassadors for Ligue 1.
The pair were at the meeting of the French Football League’s (LFP) Administrative Council on Thursday when they were presented as the faces of French football on the international market.
Though he announced recently he is likely to retire from playing next year, Drogba, 39, is expected to appear for the club he owns, Phoenix Rising, in the coming United Soccer League season.
In addition to two spells at Chelsea, during which he won four Premier League titles and a Champions League, Drogba also played in China and Turkey after making his name with Le Mans, Guingamp and — notably — Marseille in France.
“This role of ambassador is very good for me, I’ve played on four continents, in the USA, in England, Africa and China. It’s a role that suits me and I hope I’ll carry it out in the very best way,” Drogba told the meeting.
“The relationship between Africa and the France league is very strong. It’s like our second country for us Africans where we can progress. This league is the one that made me known internationally, and it’s important for me to give back some of that notoriety to this league that made me.”
Born in France into a family of Armenian heritage, Djorkaeff will forever be associated with the Zinedine Zidane-inspired team that took France to the summit of the world game in 1998 and then claimed the European crown two years later.
His distinguished career in Ligue 1 with Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain was followed by spells at Inter Milan, Kaiserslautern, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers before he ended his career at MLS franchise New York Red Bulls in 2006.
“I’m really proud to join the league,” Djorkaeff said. “We’ve been ambassadors on the pitch all our lives.
“I tried to promote French football throughout my experiences abroad, and today I have the opportunity to continue what I have loved doing: talking about football, and accompanying the league and French clubs into new markets.”
Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman