Pitchside

Drogba steals the show in pre-Chelsea press conference

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Didier Drogba has mixed emotions ahead of his return to Chelsea – but the Galatasaray striker showed great humour at the pre-match press conference.

Ivorian striker Drogba - who in 2012 left West London for an ill-fated spell in China before moving to Turkey midway through last season - is regarded by many Chelsea fans as one of the greatest players in the club’s history.

Tuesday night’s Champions League last-16 second leg gives him an opportunity to come back ‘home’ for the first time in a competitive setting, having already faced them in the 1-1 draw in Istanbul.

It promises to be an emotional night for both the player and Chelsea fans, whose love is reciprocal. But Drogba, after initially seeming a touch nervous, relaxed the atmosphere with a touch of humour:

"I'll ask myself the first question: 'Didier, how do you feel about returning to Stamford Bridge?’

"Well, I'm really happy to come back and to see some familiar faces for a big game in a big competition.

"It's very difficult to play against Chelsea but it's not going to be difficult for me to put myself in competition with them because now I belong to Galatasaray and I need to be professional.

"Of course there will be emotion playing against my ex-team mates, like there was in the first leg."

In addition to the 2012 Champions League, Drogba also won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups at Chelsea, scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances in eight years.

His Galatasaray contract expires in the summer, with a player-coach role at Chelsea reportedly on the cards.

Blues boss Jose Mourinho, who returned to Stamford Bridge this season after coaching Inter Milan and Real Madrid, believes Drogba will soon be back at the Bridge under different circumstances:

"He is one of the most important players in the history of this club. All we Chelsea supporters agree with that.

"We don't say he is the most important because it's not fair for other people who were at the same level and were of the same generation.

"His return has to happen one day, when I don't know. As a player, as a coach, as an ambassador, next year, in four or five years, 10 years, I don't know.

"But when a person gives so much to a club and a club represents so much to a person, as in this case, I think he has to be back one day."

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While the player himself was reluctant to tout the move, he did admit a close bond with a club for whom he won the Champions League with the decisive penalty, his last kick for the Blues.

"With all the respect I have for the club, the fans and the players, I might not celebrate if I score but if we win I'll be happy.

"I think to leave Chelsea on the high that I did, if I could do it again I would do it the same way, but I'm really happy at Galatasaray and I will be professional for this game tomorrow because for me it's an important one.

"I've nothing to prove to this club, everything I had to prove I think I did it with Chelsea. I just want to win this game and qualify. There is nothing personal against anyone here, there never will be."

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Reda Maher - on Twitter @Reda_Eurosport

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