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EXCLUSIVE: It's Saint Drogba! Chelsea striker in 3m pledge to build a hospital

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13 Nov 2009 01:35:56

EXCLUSIVE: It's Saint Drogba! Chelsea striker in 3m pledge to build a hospital

In a remarkable show of charity, ferocious Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has pledged a £3million donation to build a hospital. Drogba is handing over the fee he will receive for becoming the new face of Pepsi. Chelsea, his employers, should have been entitled to a cut from his sponsorship fee as a result of an image rights clause in Drogba's contract. Sources close to the remarkable deal also claim there will be a further generous donation by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in a personal show of support for Drogba. Super pledge: Didier Drogba will donate £3m to build a hospital in the Ivory Coast Sportsmail understands Abramovich may even have offered to match the donation pound for pound. The project in the Ivory Coast, Drogba's homeland, will shock those whoconsider Drogba the unacceptable face of the Barclays Premier Leaguebecause of his aggressive demeanour, diving antics and foul-mouthedrant in the Champions League last season that saw him banned for threegames by UEFA.         HAVE YOUR SAY...     Have we got Didier Drogba all wrong? Sportsmail has revealed that Didier Drogba has donated £3million to a hospital in his native Ivory Coast. The Chelsea star is often depicted as a snarling striker who enjoys the odd dive but do you think he deserves more credit for his role on and off the pitch? Or is it difficult to warm to the giant forward? TELL US WHAT YOU THINK There is, however, another side to the prolific centre forward. He launched the Didier Drogba Foundation two years ago, bought land in his hometown of Abidjan and committed to raise funds to build a hospital with the aim of opening the facility by the end of 2010. He set up the Foundation after a close friend, Stefan, died from leukaemia and the project gained momentum after 19 fans died and 132 people were injured when a wall collapsed in Abidjan's Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium before a World Cup qualifier between Ivory Coast and Malawi in March. The first aim of the Foundation is 'to build and fund a hospital giving people basic healthcare and a chance just to stay alive'. Later this month, the Didier Drogba Foundation Charity Ball will take place at London's Dorchester Hotel and has already sold out. Drogba, 31, will be the latest in a long line of global stars from theworlds of sport, music and entertainment to represent the soft drinksgiant Pepsi. Changing man: Drogba will raise funds to improve conditions in his homeland David Beckham, 34, ended his 10-year association with Pepsi in December last year. Brazilians Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos, Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry, Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Drogba's Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard have also featured in Pepsi television commercials. For some, Drogba may seem an odd choice to follow in Beckham's footsteps, but Drogba's charity work and role with the United Nations sets him apart from other candidates. In January 2007 he joined Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and Maria Sharapova as a UN Goodwill Ambassador and has since endorsed the organisation's Millennium Development Goals project, aimed at setting targets to try and halve world poverty by 2015. The striker was the first Ivorian to be crowned African Footballer of the Year in 2006.  EXCLUSIVE: Didier Drogba unleashed - the shocking, other side of the Chelsea strikerBosingwa out for three months as Blues defender prepares for knee opChelsea, United and Manchester City told: Come and get Ajax striker Luis SuarezLEO'S LONDON: Forget breaking records, QPR must convince teenage sensation Raheem Sterling to snub Chelsea and CoCHELSEA FC


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