Didier Drogba: Chelsea striker reveals he will not retire at the end of the season... but didn't confirm he'll be back at the Bridge next year

Chelsea striker has played a bit-part role this term

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Didier Drogba was unequivocal. “I have made a decision. This is not my last season.” He did not, however, wait around to answer the question: where?

Having appeared on the cover of Time magazine and Vanity Fair there is little doubt Drogba would receive offers to play in the MLS if he fancies following erstwhile team-mate Frank Lampard Stateside. A move to the middle-east, where Asamoah Gyan, another African player of note, plays, would be even more lucrative. Drogba, however, is believed to want to remain at Chelsea, and Jose Mourinho has indicated his status at the club means a job is there for him at Stamford Bridge if he wants one.

However, the problem is this increasingly seems unlikely to involve playing much football. Drogba, now 37, has played in 35 matches this season, which is a healthy return, but in many cases these appearances have amounted to a few minutes as substitute. In the Premier League he has started four games this season with Sunday’s outing at QPR only the second time he has lasted 90 minutes. Unsurprisingly he had cramp in the later stages; of greater concern was the fact he never looked like scoring. 

“It's difficult when you don't play and then have to go into these kind of games,” he said. “But I try to give my best. I tried to give the best of my physical capacity against QPR, so if the manager needs me I'm ready.”

Between October and December Drogba seemed to have regained some of his former glories scoring six times in a 11-match run including goals against Manchester United and Tottenham (he started both games). But like Lampard he has found the going harder as the season has worn on. The last goal was on 6 December and he only started at Loftus Road because Diego Costa and Loic Remy were injured.

With pressure growing on Mourinho to play some of Chelsea’s crop of young players, such as Isaiah Brown who was on the bench at Loftus Road, the club must decide if they want Drogba on the playing staff, and he must consider whether a bit-part role is enough.

At least with substitute appearances Drogba will comfortably qualify for his fourth Premier League winners’ medal when regain the title. This now seems certain though Drogba insists nothing is being taken for granted.

“You want to think it feels that way, but when you look at the game against QPR, you know the gap can be closed easily within a game or two,” he said. “So you have to stay focussed and give everything like we did. With a few games to go they will become even more difficult. Teams like QPR are fighting to stay in the Premier League so there is more intensity, more contact. A lot of games will be like this but we try to continue until the end, believe we can score and make the difference.”