Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Didier Drogba after claiming the Chelsea striker is the best value for money signing in the club's history.
The Portuguese coach believes the 36-year-old has given so much to the Blues since first moving to Stamford Bridge from Marseille in a £24 million deal in 2004 that he should forever be revered as a bargain buy.
Drogba is set to be honoured by the Football Writers’ Association for his outstanding contribution to the Premier League with a prestigious individual award after returning to west London on a free transfer last summer.
"Didier was unknown and the price was very, very high," Mourinho was quoted saying by the Sunday People. "But I think we can say he was the best-value signing for Chelsea in relation to what he has done for the club over so many years."
Drogba's most memorable moment in a Chelsea shirt came in May 2012 when he scored the decisive penalty to help secure the club's first ever European Cup in the Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
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The Bundesliga giants looked set to win the tie in 90 minutes before Drogba popped up to score a stoppage time header and take the game to extra time. And, after the teams could not be separated in the 30 minutes that followed it was the Ivorian that stepped up to convert the winning spot-kick.
It was the perfect way for the veteran marksman to end his Chelsea career after taking the decision to leave the club on a free transfer upon the expiry of his contract that year.
He took in a brief spell in China with Shanghai Shenhua before returning to Europe with Turkish side Galatasaray. Then the unthinkable happened and Mourinho moved to bring Drogba back to Chelsea again, signing him on a Bosman free transfer ahead of the 2014/15 season.
The £32 million arrival of Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid has meant Drogba has been restricted to a bit-part role in the first-team, but has still made a positive contribution when called upon from the bench this term.