Didier Drogba has certainly etched Chelsea FC’s name on all the trophies that were there were to be won, as well as his own name in the club’s history, but he has also given outsiders a sneak-peek into one of the most talked-of dressing rooms in the Premier League.
The Ivorian striker is set to launch his autobiography ‘Commitment‘ later this week, and England’s Daily Mail gave us a taste of what the Chelsea FC legend has penned down in the 336-page book.
Although he is said to have been an Arsenal FC fan when he used to stay in France, Drogba said that he had very little knowledge of English football when he joined Chelsea FC for A?24 million in 2004. In fact, he knew so little that he first thought that the then newly-appointed club captain John Terry was a youth player who was training with the first team.
“They’ve obviously brought him over to get a bit of senior squad experience,” Drogba wrote in his autobiography. “Towards the end of the session I asked another player who the young guy was. ‘It’s the captain!’ he replied, laughing. ‘John Terry.’ That’s how little I know about the team a I hadn’t even recognised their new young captain.”
Dorgba also revealed some of his troubled times at Stamford Bridge, and said that he was on the verge of leaving the club at the prime of his career, a couple of times. The first time he was on the verge of leaving Chelsea FC, was a couple of seasons after his transfer to the club, when he had to face a lot of criticism for the lack of goals. He had also recieved some stick for diving. However, he says that an emotional message from Frank Lampard made him stay at the club.
“The guy who single-handedly convinced me to stay was Frank Lampard,” says Drogba. He also went on to reveal the message Lampard had sent to him — “Hi DD, I hope that you’re staying, because we have to win the league together, and we have to win the Champions League together!”
The second occasion when was during Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari’s reign. Scolari apparently wanted to replace Drogba with Adriano, and had even asked the Ivorian to look for a new club in January 2009. However, club owner Roman Abramovich later assured him that he would be staying at the club.
In a rather tongue-in-cheek manner, Drogba seems to have taken a pot-shot at Fernando Torres and Liverpool FC in his autobiography, saying that he sympathised with the A?50 million-priced striker who might have felt like a big fish taken out of his small pond.
“With all due respect to Liverpool, at that club, Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres had been the kings. At Chelsea, there were 22 kings,” wrote Drogba.
Of player management tactics and mind-games to win the Champions League
Didier Drogba played a huge part in Chelsea FC’s Champions League triumph, and according to him, it was truly a case of democratic management by the players and the coaches, as the club went on to lift their holy grail.
In fact, when they were struggling 1-0 down to FC Barcelona at Camp Nou, caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo had apparently asked Branislav Ivanovic to play as centreback. However, Drogba said that it was Jose Bosingwa who put his hand up and volunteered to play that position, which prompted the Ivorian to volunteer playing at left-back.
Chelsea FC went on to win that game, qualifying for the Champions League final in Munich, where they faced FC Bayern Munich. Here, he says that mind games with the home side got Chelsea the trophy. Drogba himself had lost faith, but was egged on by playmaker Juan Mata.
He reveals David Luiz’s mind games against Bastian Schweinsteiger, just before Drogba himself scored a dramatic 88th minute equaliser from a Mata corner. Luiz said, “Just watch, we’re going to score now.”
Lampard and Drogba had also resorted to their own mind games against former colleague Arjen Robben, who was set to take a penalty in extra-time.
“Arjen, you’re a Chelsea player, you can’t do this! Don’t do it! Anyway, we’ll know where you’re going to shoot,” they said to Robben.
These revelations by Drogba have really given us an insight into how one of the most troubled (yet successful) dressing rooms in the Premier League works.