A GRAPHIC novel detailing the life of Ivory Coast’s football hero Didier Drogba is to be published in France.
The book covers several landmark events in the footballer’s life, detailing how he walked at six months, left home at five and fell in love with the woman who was to become his wife at 17.
Editions are also planned for Britain, where Drogba is idolised 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.
The album, called From Tito to Drogba traces the 35-year-old's journey from modest roots in Abidjan to the summit of world football. The Tito in the title refers to his childhood nickname.
It was first published in 2012 in Ivory Coast, where the footballer is revered both as a lynchpin of the national team, and a symbol of national unity - thanks to his detour into peacemaking diplomacy when the country teetered on the brink of civil war in 2006.
Born on March 11, 1978, his parents sent him to France at the age of five to live with his uncle, professional footballer Michel Goba.
He has often spoken of how difficult he found his childhood years, the long spells apart from his parents and the upheaval as his uncle moved 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 become an illustrious career at Levallois SC.
"The book goes into a lot of detail," Drogba 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 football 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."
Part of the proceeds from the book sales will go to the Didier Drogba Foundation, which finances health and education projects in Africa.