Drogba open to the idea of joining Mourinho back at Chelsea
Galatasaray striker targeting Real Madrid’s Champions League dream
Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba will line up against his former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid at the Bernabeur tonight. Photograph: Juan Medina/Getty Images
Didier Drogba believes Jose Mourinho has “unfinished business” at Chelsea and says he would be open to a reunion with him if the Portuguese makes a return to Stamford Bridge this summer.
The Ivorian, whose penalty clinched last season’s Champions League for Chelsea, suggested he would be keen to join forces with Mourinho and “help the club” as a player or coach.
Mourinho has been linked with a move back to Chelsea at the end of the season, when Rafael Benitez will depart as interim manager. Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s owner, sacked Mourinho in 2007 following a breakdown in their relationship but the manager has enjoyed successful spells with Internazionale and Real Madrid since and Drogba is certain a comeback by Mourinho would benefit Chelsea and transform them into the dominant force of old.
“I think for the club it is the best solution to bring Jose back,” said the striker, who is currently with the Turkish champions Galatasaray.
“The fans want him back. He loves Chelsea. Because you want to rebuild a team and to give them the strength we had a few years ago, he could be the right person. He is close to the players.
“He went to Inter and is at Real Madrid but [he] is still talking about Chelsea. I don’t think he has got over Chelsea and they haven’t got over him. When he came he brought success; we won league titles back-to-back and the only thing he didn’t win was the Champions League. Maybe that is why he might want to come back. It is unfinished business.”
Drogba, who trained with Chelsea in December during the off-season in China, revealed that the possibility of returning on a permanent basis was discussed in January after his departure from Shanghai Shenua. A deal did not materialise but the 35-year-old admitted he would be keen to explore a comeback.
“Let me finish at Galatasaray first and then we will talk about that,” Drogba said. “It would be nice, not just coaching but to help the club. For this club I gave everything and they gave it back to me.”
Drogba will line up against Mourinho’s side when Galatasaray play Real Madrid at the Bernabeu tonight in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the first time the Turkish club have reached the last eight of the competition since 2001. “
It’s going to be different because I play against Jose, who is ex-Chelsea, Michael [Essien], who is ex-Chelsea, and Ricardo Carvalho, who is ex-Chelsea,” Drogba said. “It’s going to be nice to see the Chelsea boys but I would love to go through.”
Meanwhile, Mourinho has defended his decision to leave 2010 World Cup-winning captain Iker Casillas out of his squad.
The Spain goalkeeper is fit to train after recovering from a broken finger but will not feature against the Turkish team, having also been omitted for Saturday's 1-1 draw at Real Zaragoza in La Liga.
“(Casillas) is training well. He needs to carry on doing so and wait his opportunity,” said Mourinho.
Mourinho was full of respect for a Galatasaray side many pundits say are the weakest team in the quarter-finals.
“They have a coach with experience in games at this level,” Mourinho said of his opposite number, former AC Milan and Turkey boss Fatih Terim.
“In Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneijder and Burak Yilmaz they have three players up front who can damage any side.”