Few players are held in a higher regard among Chelsea fans than Didier Drogba.
The Ivorian was a serial match-winner for much of his time at Stamford Bridge and a major contributor to several key moments in the Blues’ recent history.
Drogba first joined the club when the Londoners agreed a £24 million deal to make him the then most expensive striker in English football in the summer of 2004.
After winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Champions League in his first spell, he left for China in 2012 but didn’t stay away long.
The veteran returned three years later to play under Jose Mourinho once more and added another league title and domestic cup to his Chelsea honours list.
Drogba is widely adored in the west of the capital so it’s only natural fans are attracted to the idea of him one day signing up for a third spell at the club - perhaps on the touchline.
When asked if management is among his future plans, the 40-year-old told Sky Sports, per Metro: “I’ve met enough managers to make it possible.
"I've worked with a lot of managers - different skills, different approaches - and I've played with a lot of very good players who understand the game.
"I learned so much that this could be an option, a good option.
"When you have Mourinho, Ancelotti, all these managers, and players like Frank Lampard, John Terry, Michael Ballack, Petr Cech, all these guys, you learn a lot.
"In a dressing room you experience so many things so when I ask if management could an option. Why not? I think I could do well.”
There’s no question Drogba is blessed in terms of the contacts he’s developed in the football world.
But in addition to some of his old colleagues being among the finest players of their generation, the former Ivory Coast captain squared off against numerous decent opponents, too.
Having played as a lone striker most his career, Drogba said: “It’s very difficult for me to say one that I played against because most of the time I was playing against two defenders, so one of the best pair I played against was [Nemanja] Vidic and [Rio] Ferdinand.
“And the other one was [Carles] Puyol and [Gerard] Pique.”
However, when pushed to single out one of those four, he complied.
“I think Pique because our battles were really, really tough.
“But at the same time, like with all of them, you know like big guys, top players, top men, class.”
That comes as somewhat of a surprise because although Pique is by no means a pushover, he’s seldom described as a physical monster like Ferdinand and Vidic were at their peak.
Then again, positioning and timing can be even more important than strength and pace in football.
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