Suits you Jose! Can style of Eto’o overshadow the class of Chelsea legend Drogba in Turkey shootout?
If Chelsea fans believe the man they voted the greatest player in their history two years ago is going to give them an easy ride in this week’s stand-out Champions League encounter, they should think again.
Chelsea travel to face Galatasaray in Istanbul on Wednesday and can expect to line up against Didier Drogba, instrumental in leading the Turkish side to the last 16 of Europe’s top-table club competition.
Drogba, now 35, won 10 major trophies in eight seasons at Chelsea, including the 2012 Champions League when he scored the vital late equaliser and then the penalty shootout decider — against Bayern Munich in the Germans’ own stadium.
Style over substance? Samuel Eto’o (left) will come face to face with Didier Drogba this week
But despite the mutual affection between the player and Chelsea’s faithful, their supporters should expect nothing less than the Ivory Coast striker’s best against them this week. So says his friend and fellow former Chelsea forward George Weah — a multiple former African Footballer of the Year just like Drogba,.
‘He’s not just going to look at the Chelsea fans in the crowd and soak up their appreciation,’ said Weah last week. ‘He’s going to show them he’s still the player they loved, and he will want to show them why he loved them.’
Weah got his big break at Monaco in the late Eighties under Arsene Wenger, later starring for Paris St-Germain, Milan and Marseille among others. In his post-playing days, Weah turned to politics, entering the Presidential race in his native Liberia in 2005.
He remains politically active within the party he formed, the Congress for Democratic Change. But he also retains close ties across football and stays in touch with the current stars, such as Drogba.
‘I don’t say it’s easy to play against a former club for whom you have affection,’ said Weah. ‘I played for AS Monaco and then had to play against them as a PSG player and for Marseille.
Main man: Drogba helped Chelsea to the Champions League trophy with victory over Bayern Munich in 2012
Head boy: Drogba headed Chelsea level against Bayern before the game went to a penalty shootout
Done deal: Fittingly, Drogba scored the winning penalty to cap his Chelsea career off in style
‘It can be difficult to play against a former club, especially if you had a great relationship but good professionals will not lose focus… I wanted to win against AS Monaco. That is your job.
‘Chelsea fans loved Didier because he scored goals and he’s a winner. He’ll want to score. He’ll want to beat them. It’s the right thing.’
Between 2004-2012, Drogba made 337 competitive appearances for Chelsea, scoring 155 goals, just shy of a goal every other game….