When will soccer make it in Canada?
Well, Didier Drogba’s reportedly going to be formally unveiled as a Montreal Impact player later on Thursday in front of fans and journalists, but it’s hard to imagine anything topping his appearance on a staircase at the city’s main airport yesterday.
Hundreds of ecstatic supporters, many of them seemingly from his native Ivory Coast, gathered to pay homage to the 37-year-old ex-Chelsea striker/gesticulator.
Fans trampled safety barriers, according to MLSsoccer.com, relieved that Drogba in Quebec wasn’t some sort of dream. Or hoping that, given MLS’s labyrinthine transfer processes, the league hadn’t secretly traded Drogba to Columbus mid-flight in exchange for international slots, allocation money, a framed portrait of Brian McBride and an interest-free loan for a monorail project linking Saputo Stadium with northern Vermont.
The scenes were so remarkable that Drogba even took off his sunglasses, which, of course, he’d been wearing indoors because he is famous and cool.
And someone gave him a bunch of roses, which is a nice touch. These French-influenced cities are all about love. If he’d joined the Chicago Fire, maybe he’d have gotten a deep-dish pizza, free tickets to an improv comedy show and a map of the no-go areas.
Some skeptics have questioned whether Drogba is still any good, even though he did make 40 appearances for the best team in the EPL last season, the most recent coming only two months ago. So the answer to that question would seem to be “Yes. Yes he is.”
Anyway, after a reception like that, it sort of feels like mission accomplished already, doesn’t it?