Didier Drogba to return to Montreal Impact this season

Montreal soccer fans can breathe a sigh of relief — Didier Drogba is returning to play for the Impact this season.

Fans relieved over news Drogba will stay after speculation he would join Chelsea's coaching staff

Montreal Impact's Didier Drogba celebrates after scoring against Toronto FC during first half MLS playoff soccer action in Montreal, Thursday, October 29, 2015 (Graham Hughes/CP)

Star player Didier Drogba has confirmed he's returning to the Montreal Impact this season.

Drogba tweeted Sunday morning that he's on his way to Qatar for some pre-season preparation work.

According to the Montreal Impact, the veteran will be joining the team for the second part of its training camp from Feb. 15 - 28 in Florida. 

The news is a relief for many Impact fans, after much speculation over Drogba's future, including rumours that he was considering joining up with Chelsea's coaching staff. 

Earlier this month, a prominent French sports publication — L'Équipe — reported that Drogba was hanging it up. It said according to sources, Drogba had called the Impact to announce his retirement. 

Both Drogba and the MLS team disputed the rumours.

Impact head to Florida for training

The Impact open camp Monday and Tuesday at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, then head to Florida for outdoor training in warm weather.

Drogba's return is the second piece of good news in recent days. The Impact announced Saturday that central defender Victor Cabrera signed a contract after solid play last season in Montreal on loan from Argentine club River Plate.

Twenty-five players are expected to report on Monday, including first-round draft pick Kyle Fisher.

Midfield signing Luacs Ontivero, midfielder Calum Mallace and draft picks Michael Salazar, Eric Verso and Keegan Smith are to report in Florida. Midfielder Pedro Jeanine, who is on a trial, will also join the team in Florida.

Canadians Kyle Bekker, Maxime Crepeau and Wandrille Lefevre, American Erik Miller and Costa Rican Johan Venegas will hook up with the squad after spells with their national teams.

Midfielder Andres Romero remains in Argentina to rehab a knee injury. 

The Impact's first pre-season game is set for Feb. 4 against the New York Red Bulls. They open the regular season March 6 in Vancouver and play their home opener March 12 against the Red Bulls at Olympic Stadium.

With files from The Canadian Press


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