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Chelsea icon Drogba eyeing MLS as Phoenix Rising owner

Didier Drogba is hoping to lead United Soccer League team Phoenix Rising into Major League Soccer.

The Chelsea legend has bought into the third tier USL club who are hoping to become a new MLS franchise by beating 10 other budding teams to one of two spots.

Drogba has signed to play for Phoenix and will also be part of the ownership group after seeking advice from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

The Ivory Coast great, who played with Montreal Impact in 2015 and 2016, is part of an ownership group including Major League Baseball pitcher Brandon McCarthy, Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, DJ and producer Diplo, and business entrepreneur Berke Bakay.

"I explained to him (Abramovich) and the Chelsea board what I wanted to do," said Drogba.

"They found it interesting and I have their support. They are happy for me. Being in America doesn't mean that I'm putting Chelsea out of sight. The club is important to me and one day I will come back.

"This is exactly why I am making this move. To finish my playing career and at the same time learn a lot about how to run a team, how to be a manager, and manage difficult moments."

Drogba, 39, will link up with former Blues teammate Shaun Wright-Phillips, former Leicester City full-back Jordan Stewart and ex-Newcastle United defender Peter Ramage.

Rising FC are coached by the English-born Frank Yallop, formerly of Ipswich Town fame, who has overseen MLS clubs San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy, Chicago Fire and the Canadian national team.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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