Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba played a key role in Chelsea's Champions League triumph in 2012 Reuters

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has joined Major League Soccer side Montreal Impact, subject to a Canadian work permit.

Drogba, 37, was released by the Blues at the close of last season after his contract expired ending his nine-year association with the London club.

The Ivory Coast striker first joined Chelsea from Marseille in 2004 and went on to score 164 goals in his 381 appearances, making him the club's fourth highest goalscorer on the all-time list.

Drogba initially signed with Chicago Fire, who then traded him with Montreal in return for allocation money.

"It's an honour to welcome Didier Drogba to the Impact," Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo told the MLS side's official website.

"From the first conversation I had with him, I felt that he really wanted to play in Montreal. This is one of the biggest days in club history and his arrival to the club will be beneficial in every aspect."

Montreal technical director Adam Braz added: "We are very excited and thrilled to add to our roster a player with an exceptional career.

"He's demonstrated his qualities as a striker at the highest level in Europe. His instinct in front of the goal, his experience and his leadership are all attributes that will help the team on the field."

Drogba's most famous goal was arguably the late equaliser he netted for Chelsea in their 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. He then slotted home the decisive spot-kick in the ensuing penalty shootout to win the Blues their first European Cup.

In October 2012, he was voted by Chelsea fans as the club's greatest ever player.

He has also been named the African Footballer of the Year twice, winning the accolade in 2006 and 2009.