So often our matchwinner on European nights, Didier Drogba has been discussing returning to Stamford Bridge as an opponent.
Our former striker was speaking at a pre-match press conference held in the West Stand this afternoon, with the assembled British and Turkish media keen to find out what Drogba made of being back at the place he once called home.
In fact the Ivorian took the initiative – as was so often the case on the field of play.
‘Okay I’ll ask myself the first question. Didier, how do you feel about coming to Stamford Bridge?!’ posed Drogba, much to the journalists’ amusement.
‘I’m really happy to come back and to see some familiar faces,’ he said more seriously. ‘Of course there will be emotions, like in the first game. To see my ex-teammates and also the Chelsea fans in the stadium was special. Then there was the game which was tough, with a high intensity and I think it’s going to be the same tomorrow.’
Drogba was keen to stress his issue tomorrow would lie not in returning to a such a special venue but in playing a team whose capabilities he knows only too well.
‘It’s not difficult to play this game because it’s a big game in a big competition. It is difficult to play against Chelsea, but it’s not difficult for me to put myself into the completion. I belong to Galatasaray now and I need to be professional; it means a lot for my team so I will find a way to play.’
Drogba’s last kick in a Chelsea shirt brought the European Cup to Stamford Bridge for the first time in our history. He decided that would be his final act of a glorious career in west London and, nearly two years later, he says he has no regrets.
‘I think to leave Chelsea on a high like I did, if I could do it, I would do it again the same way. I always said I believe in destiny and if I ever wanted to play again for this team it could have happened a long time ago; as it didn’t there is no problem with that.
‘I am really happy at Galatasaray and I am focusing on this game tomorrow as for me it’s an important one and I want it to be the best one. With all the respect that I have for this club, for the fans and for the players I might not celebrate if I score but if we win I’ll be happy.
‘I have nothing to prove to this club. Everything I had to prove I think I did with Chelsea. I come here with another team and I just want to win the game and qualify. There is nothing personal against Chelsea, never.’
Before Drogba left to train with his current teammates on the Stamford Bridge turf, he considered his future once his playing days are over.
‘I have learnt so much in football, this sport has given me so much as well that I can’t turn my back and say I’m going to go into something different,’ said the 36-year-old. ‘Maybe as a coach or in a different position – I think the idea is now becoming clearer. Of course I would like to come and work here but not now, I still want to play.’
Roberto Mancini is the man currently charged with overseeing Drogba at club level, and the former Manchester City boss compared his return to the land where he once played and managed with his star striker’s.
‘Didier is a fantastic man and a fantastic player and for him it is different to come back to Stamford Bridge for the first time,’ explained Mancini.
‘For me it is good because I have good memories of England. I am happy to play this game firstly because it’s here in London and after because it’s the Champions League. We know it will be really difficult because Chelsea are one of the best teams in Europe, but in football I never say never. Anything can happen. If they beat us it’s because they are better but we want to try.’