Drogba: A great feeling

Just over two years after ending an unforgettable period with the Blues in the most wonderful fashion, Didier Drogba, a true Stamford Bridge legend, has returned to the club.

Drogba, so often the man for the big occasion, scored 157 goals during his first spell at Chelsea, including four FA Cup final strikes and a last-gasp Champions League final leveller.

His return to west London follows spells in China and Turkey, and the Ivorian is confident a combination of ability and experience will help fire Jose Mourinho's side to glory.

For any player, cementing your place in the hearts and minds of a club’s supporters is no easy task, but it’s something Drogba undoubtedly achieved during his initial eight-year period as a Blue.

The affection of the Stamford Bridge faithful was secured through a host of influential displays, all manner of important goals and, of course, the penalty which saw us crowned champions of Europe in 2012.

Drogba, 36, departed the club soon after that memorable night in Munich, embarking upon spells with Shanghai Shenhua  and, most recently, Galatasaray. Now, having signed a one-year contract, he is back in SW6.

‘It’s amazing to be back, a great feeling,’ says Drogba. ‘I’m happy to be back here and I’m looking forward to seeing the best fans.

‘It was an easy decision to make, it’s very difficult to say no to Jose and to Chelsea. I have so many good memories with the club so when the opportunity came up it was easy for me.’

Drogba was initially brought to the club in the summer of 2004, one of Mourinho’s first signings as Chelsea manager, and the pair have since gone on to forge a special relationship.

‘He said to me that a player like me, who has history with the club, should come back one day,’ explains Drogba. ‘He said I have to come back and I agree with him because, even if I left, I was still a Chelsea player because of the eight years I spent here. No offence to the teams I was with during those two years but that’s just the way it is.

‘He’s the one who gave me a chance to play in the Premier League. We won so many trophies together and so many matches on the pitch. His relationship is not only with me, it’s with all the players who were here from the beginning of the story. It’s quite emotional but the most important thing is that we want to win, win, win.

‘I think the best thing I can bring to this club and team will be to stay the same as I was during my first spell here. I don’t have to change, everybody knows my character, my attitude and my mentality.

‘They know if I’m here it’s not just to smile and thank people for welcoming me back. I want to win, I want to share my desire and will to win games. The squad is young but to get the best results you have to push yourself.’

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It may have only been a brief period away from the club for Drogba, who will wear the number 15 shirt during the coming campaign, but the profile of the playing squad has changed significantly in that two-year period, with the average age of the group being reduced.

Former team-mates Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole have moved on, while the club have recently acquired the services of Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Filipe Luis.

‘It was very important for us to buy these players, they are all good signings,’ explains Drogba. ‘To have Cesc with us, I think he’ll understand it’s better to be with us than against us. They are good players and I hope they will bring their talent and experience to the team. 

‘I’ve been watching Diego play over the last few years and the first time I saw him I really liked him as a player. I like his character, he’s solid, he can score goals and he’s also technically gifted. He likes people to respect him and that’s important.

‘This is the first time I’ve had a chance to speak about those two players that left. Ash was the best left-back in the world and I was lucky to have him in my team because when he was at Arsenal he was a difficult player to play against. He became a better player when he came to Chelsea. 

‘Everyone knows exactly what Frank meant to me. People say I scored a lot of goals but he was involved in almost all of them. The partnership with him was incredible and he’s a legend at this club. I know he will also come back one day because he belongs to the Blues.’

Drogba’s first spell at the club was a trophy-laden period, with the striker playing a pivotal role as we won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Champions League.

As he prepares for his first season back at the Bridge, the main motivation is further collective success, with his eyes firmly fixed on one trophy in particular.

‘I’m not coming here to break records, I just want to win trophies,’ he says. ‘Five years is a long time not to win the Premier League, so I want to win it. To lift the Premier League trophy is a fantastic feeling and we haven’t experienced it for a few years, it’s too long for a club like ours.

‘I think the title race is going to be like it has been these last few years, all the big clubs will be involved and fighting until the end. 

‘There are more teams capable of winning the league, which makes it interesting in terms of pressure and different scenarios.

‘I missed the Premier League, which for me is the best in the world. It’s true the German league is on the way up but the English league has been the best over the last decade and I’m really looking forward to playing the first game.’