Didier Drogba excited by return to Champions League after joining Galatasaray

Former Chelsea striker has joined Turkish side on 18-month deal

Didier Drogba is relishing the chance to have another crack at the Champions League after sealing a return to Europe with Galatasaray.

The former Chelsea striker last night agreed to join the Turkish giants from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on an 18-month deal.

His representatives revealed on Twitter that the Ivory Coast international would join up with his new side following the African Nations Cup and Gala confirmed the deal on their official website.

Drogba memorably converted the winning penalty in the final shootout against Bayern Munich to win the Champions League for Chelsea for the first time last season. It turned out to be his last kick for the London club.

Explaining the reasons behind his move to Turkey, Drogba said through his representatives, Sports PR Company, on Twitter: "The opportunity to play for this great club was an offer that I could not turn down.

"I am looking forward to playing in the Champions League again, against the best clubs in Europe."

An emotional reunion with Chelsea is not possible, though, after the holders crashed out of the competition in the group stage.

Drogba's capture is the second marque signing within a week for Gala, coming hot on the heels of the arrival last week of Holland midfielder Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan.

Drogba's move to Turkey brings to an end a six-month stint in China.

The 34-year-old joined Shanghai last June, penning a two-and-a-half year deal reportedly worth £200,000 a week, but was repeatedly linked with a move back to Europe in recent months.

Last month Drogba returned to train with Chelsea during the Chinese off-season in preparation for the African Nations Cup in South Africa.

FIFA rejected a special request from the striker for him to join a club on loan outside the transfer window, amid speculation linking him with Juventus, AC Milan and Liverpool, among others.

Despite his protests to the contrary, reports persisted that Drogba's move to China had not worked out, largely due to boardroom wrangling, and he has now left the Far East to return to Europe.

Gala are five points clear at the top of the Super Lig standings and are through to the last 16 of the Champions League, where they face Schalke.

PA

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