Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba is a modern day legend at Chelsea.
He played a major part in the most trophy-laden period in the history of the club.
During his eight years with the Blues he won 10 major trophies, including the Premier League twice and famously the Champions League in 2012.
The big striker will come face to face with his old teammates and fans when his new club Galatasaray host Chelsea on Wednesday night in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League clash.
Didier Drogba was one of Jose Mourinho’s first signings for Chelsea in 2004. The former-Marseille star went on to become the talisman of the Mourinho era and beyond. Along with the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard, Drogba was regarded as the one of Chelsea’s leaders.
Drogba made 342 appearances and scored 157 goals for the Blues in those eight years at the club. Drogba etched himself into the history book by scoring the winning penalty against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in 2012. The penalty was Drogba’s last ever touch of the ball for Blues.
During his time at Chelsea, Drogba built up a very close relationship with boss Jose Mourinho and the pair has apparently kept in touch over the years. I am sure the tie will be an emotional one for the duo.
Didier Drogba’s career at Chelsea was not all sweetness and light though, as he was involved in controversy ranging from diving, to swearing and to red cards. It could be argued that all of those controversial incidents happened in the heat of the moment and really should not detract from Drogba’s football ability.
It will be a strange experience for Didier Drogba to line-up against his old team in the Champions League. Drogba is only human and is bound to have mixed emotions about the tie, especially the game at Stamford Bridge.
Talking about his playing against his old club Drogba told the BBC: “Are Chelsea better than Galatasaray? Yes, they are 10 times better,”
“If I play it is to win. It will be tough but Juve were better than us, so anything can happen. If there’s a 1% chance of us winning. I’ll believe it.”
Asked if he could keep control of his emotions Drogba replied: “It will be difficult. You don’t stay eight years in a place you don’t like, especially in football – it is very emotional. I love Chelsea but I play for Galatasaray now and I will give everything for them.”
Didier Drogba is such a winner that there are no doubts whether he will give his all against his old club. The 35-year-old is still fiercely competitive and wants to win every game he plays, no matter who he comes up against.
The majority of football fans will be expecting a comfortable Chelsea win in this tie, but the Turkish champions will be a dangerous opponent for Chelsea. They are definitely a potential banana skin for Mourinho’s side.
Not only does Gala have Drogba up front, the Turkish giants also have the likes of Dutch international playmaker Wesley Sneijder, former-Arsenal full-back Emmanuel Eboue and former-Liverpool winger Albert Riera amongst their squad.
The ambitious Turkish outfit are managed by former-Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, who of course won the Premier League title with the Citizens in 2012.
Galatasaray may be underdogs for this tie at odds of 7/2, but the Turkish giants progressed from a very difficult group stage involving Real Madrid and Juventus. The Turkish side progressed at the expense of Italian champions Juventus, which is an impressive feat in itself.
The two legs of this tie will be rare occasions were both sets of fans pay homage to a player. The ideal scenario for Chelsea fans seems to be Drogba scoring at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea going through to the quarter-finals.
However, Drogba and his team have a real chance of going through, despite Chelsea being favourites. Chelsea fans will be hoping that they can applaud their former-hero on his return to Stamford Bridge, while their current heroes win through to the next phase.
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