Ivory Coast soccer star Didier Drogba and retired French forward Youri Djorkaeff have been appointed as international ambassadors of French soccer’s top-tier Ligue 1.
The announcement came at the annual meeting of the French Football League's (LFP) Administrative Council. The pair, who both enjoyed successful careers representing various clubs across the globe, will be charged with increasing the exposure of Ligue 1 in new international territories as well as strengthening the league’s position in recognised markets.
Djorkaeff - who was part of France's 1998 Fifa World Cup and 2000 Uefa European Championship winning teams - played for French sides Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain as well as having spells in Italy, Germany and the UK. He ended his career at Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise New York Red Bulls in 2006.
"I'm really proud to join the league," Djorkaeff said. "We've been ambassadors on the pitch all our lives. I [have] tried to promote French soccer throughout my experiences abroad, and today I have the opportunity to continue what I have loved doing: talking about football, and accompanying the league and French clubs into new markets."
Drogba is still playing for second-tier United Soccer League (USL) outfit the Phoenix Rising, who he part-owns. The 39-year-old previously represented Le Mans, Guingamp and Marseille in France while he also enjoyed spells in the UK, China and Turkey, most notably with Chelsea in the Premier League.
He added: “This role of ambassador is very good for me, I've played on four continents, in the USA, in England, Africa and China. It's a role that suits me and I hope I'll carry it out in the very best way. The relationship between Africa and the French league is very strong. It's like our second country for us Africans where we can progress. This league is the one that made me known internationally, and it's important for me to give back some of that notoriety to this league that made me."