The former Blues player stated that Eden Hazard is his club’s current talisman.
It is not everyday, when you get to interact with a true footballing legend. Such was the case on 23rd November 2018, when Khel Now alongwith other media organisations got an opportunity to meet up with Chelsea legend and Yokohama Ambassador Didier Drogba at The Leela Ambience Gurugram Hotel in the capital.
The former Ivory Coast international, who has come to India as Yokohama and Chelsea ambassador met with the media and shared his thoughts regarding the Premier League club and other issues in football.
The all-time Ivorian top scorer began the session by praising midfield lynchpin N’golo Kante, who has just signed a new contract extension with the London side. He quipped, “Good, very good. He is important for us.”
Drogba, who is also Chelsea’s fourth highest goalscorer of all-time retired recently after his side Phoenix Rising lost in the USL Cup final. The Indian Super League has become a hotbed for international football stars in the twilight of their careers, with the likes Diego Forlan and Luis Garcia, gracing the competition. On being asked if he would come back from retirement to play in the ISL the former Marseille star replied, “No, I don’t think so. It is good to stick to it, once when you announce your retirement. I think it is a good time that I relax a bit.”
164 goals by the Ivorian for the Blues
Former football stars like Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Theirry Henry played in the same era as Drogba and have now donned coaching hats. This raises the question, will the Ivorian ever take up coaching responsibility?
“I think I have learned a lot over the years, where I played under fantastic coaches and also played with terrific players. Will I ever lead a team as a coach? Yeah, why not! I cannot write it off.”
He further added, “Being a coach is not easy. You need to know a lot of things. Frank is doing good with Derby. He has got the ability and qualities.”
Gone are the days, when Chelsea had a fearsome striker upfront. No criticism thrown at Alvaro Morata, but the Spaniard has been a shade of his Juventus or Real Madrid days. Recently, the 26-year-old revealed that the pressure on playing for Chelsea was getting to him and he is consulting a pychologit to help him out. “It’s not easy, you see. It happens to everyone. You have difficult moments and then you need the support of the fans. Chelsea fans have been great to him and have helped him. I was really happy when he started scoring again. He is a great person and a terrific striker. You don’t play for Real Madrid or Juventus, if you are not good enough.”
After winning the 2011-12 Champions League final, the two-time African Player of the Year left England to grace the Chinese Super League. Linking up with former Blues teammate Nicolas Anelka, the four-time Premier League winner joined Shanghai Shenhua. He spent a few months in China and then left for Turkish outfit Galatasaray. He said, “It was good to play there and I would love to stay there for more time, but there were different reasons which contributed to my departure. I had many friends there. I liked the culture and the football was interesting there. I enjoyed with my brother Anelka. Overall, it was a great experience.”
Current Manchester United gaffer Jose Mourinho coached Drogba during his first Chelsea tenure for quite sometime. With the Portuguese, he won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two Football League titles, and an FA Community Shield. Mourinho left Chelsea out of the blue in September 2007 (due to disagreements with the board), but he shared a special bond with his players.
“What can I say about him! You people know me because of him. He decided to sign me for Chelsea. He gave me a chance to play in one of the biggest clubs of the world,” the retired star stated.
The Ballon d’Or is scheduled to take place in ten days on 3rd December 2018. Drogba himself, was in contention for quite a few years. When asked, who he thought could win it this year, he said with a deep breath, “I think it would be nice to see (Kylian) Mbappe win. It would be refreshing. But I think Ronaldo is still there. He is still a machine. He is still scoring goals in a new league. He won the recent Champions League. He is unbelievable.”
The 2010 Chelsea Player of the Year also went on to praise his former club’s new midfield acquisitions – Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho. “They are really good. They add a new dimension to their team’s style,” he quipped.
The 2009 BBC African Footballer of the Year finished off the interaction by stating that he hoped Chelsea would win the Premier League this season.