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Didier Drogba’s return to Chelsea in the summer was more about romance and fairytales than football. That’s what most people believed, at least. The club legend, now 36, could surely not offer too much on the pitch. He was only brought in to groom the stars of the future. He wouldn’t have too much of an impact individually. Right?
Wrong. Drogba, in the last one week has been Chelsea’s most important player, scoring 3 goals in as many games. What is more impressive is that these goals have come in three different competitions, and have come at a time when the two strikers ahead of him in the pecking order, Diego Costa and Loic Remy, have both been injured.
Last Tuesday, he scored his first goal since his return to Stamford Bridge with a penalty against Maribor in the Champions League. He followed this up with a goal at the weekend against Manchester United at Old Trafford, one that was seconds away from being the winner. Two days ago, he delivered once again, breaking the deadlock against Shrewsbury Town in the Capital One Cup before playing a crucial role in the second goal too.
What is most encouraging for Jose Mourinho is that he now knows that he can depend on Drogba to come up with the goods if and when Costa and Remy are not available. The manager commented after the Shrewsbury game that Drogba’s ‘character is bigger than his body’, explaining how the Ivorian was able to play three games in a week even at this age.
Drogba has now scored 160 goals for Chelsea Football Club. The last one he scored before his departure in 2012 was the equaliser in the Champions League Final, the greatest night in the club’s history. He went on to scoring the winning penalty, cementing his place in Chelsea folklore. In big games, he was probably the best player in the world, delivering his stunning consistency. This led him to be voted by the fans as Chelsea’s greatest ever player.
Now, he’s doing it again. Defying all the odds and slamming all his critics, Didier Drogba is proving to be a vital asset for Chelsea this season. He is not going to feature regularly, nor is he going to be too high on the goalscoring charts. But, in the last week, he has proven that when he does feature, he will perform and score goals. Add to that the invaluable experience and know-how that he brings to the side, and it is clear why Mourinho saw fit to re-sign him.