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Book chronicles Drogba's animated life

Updated: 2014-03-04 08:00
By Agence France-Presse in Paris ( China Daily)

Didier Drogba walked at six months, left home at age five and fell in love with the woman who was to become his wife at the tender age of 17.

Those are some of the landmark events covered in an account of the Cote d'Ivoire soccer player's extraordinary life, about to be published in animated form in France.

Editions are also planned for Britain, where Drogba is still idolized by supporters of his former club Chelsea; Brazil, where he is due to play in the World Cup later this year, and Turkey, where he currently stars for Galatasaray.

 Book chronicles Drogba's animated life

A young man reads a book entitled 'Didier Drogba', in which the renowned Cote d'Ivoire soccer superstar is the main character. Drogba, 35, is the hero of the animated biography, which recounts his journey from Abidjan to the world's best soccer clubs. Bertrand Guay / Agence France-Presse

Subtitled "From Tito to Drogba", the book traces the 35-year-old's journey from modest roots in Abidjan to the summit of world soccer.

The Tito in the subtitle refers to his childhood nickname.

The book was first published in 2012 in Cote d'Ivoire, where Drogba is revered both as a linchpin of the national team, the Elephants, and a symbol of national unity - thanks to his detour into peacemaking diplomacy when the country was teetering on the brink of civil war in 2006.

Born on March 11, 1978, Drogba first moved to France at the age of five to live with his uncle, Michel Goba, a professional player, because his parents believed the move would give the youngster a better chance in life.

He has often spoken of how difficult he found his childhood years, the long spells spent apart from his parents and the upheaval of moving around as his uncle regularly changed clubs.

His parents finally joined him in France when he was 13 and the family settled in the Paris suburbs, where Drogba began what was to be an illustrious career at Levallois SC.

'Too perfect?'

"The book goes into a lot of detail," Drogba recently told sports daily L'Equipe. "It is a fun way to learn lots of things about me and to show young people that, if they do what I did, they can achieve their objectives.

"The most important thing is to show you can exceed your dreams. For me soccer has become my job, my way of making a living, and that in turn has allowed me to meet many famous people, to be a UNICEF ambassador."

The man responsible for the book is Gabin Bao, a 36-year-old Ivorian who spent years on the project.

"I met him several times after we did the deal and he really liked the idea of sending a message to young Africans," Bao said of working with Drogba.

Bao's script for the book flirts with caricature at times in its emphasis on the role of hard work in Drogba's ascent.

"Some people say I've made him too perfect, but he is like that," Bao said. "He is very careful about his image because he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders."

Part of the proceeds from the book sales will go to the Didier Drogba Foundation, which finances health and education projects in Africa.