Drogba should end Chelsea story on a high

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It was a heady evening for Chelsea players and fans and the celebrating will be continuing in some places even today.


Others will be trying to cope with the hangover from a quite incredible penalty shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich in Saturday night’s Champions League final.


As he had been for the latter stages of Chelsea’s triumphant run, Didier Drogba was the decisive factor in a game that should really have been comfortably won by the German side.


Poor finishing cost them and we do not need any lessons in how the Ivory Coast striker can exploit even the slightest hint of an opportunity.


Drogba’s fantastic header levelled the tie just two minutes before the end and he was then on hand to bury the winning penalty kick in the resulting shoot-out.


It sounds as though it was his last kick for the club with speculation over his future continuing, following a report by France Football, and it would be the right decision if it is to be the last time he pulls on the Blues kit.


It is easy, and fully understandable, that the club’s European victory could persuade a few people to believe that Drogba’s stay at the club should be extended by owner Roman Abramovich.


But judgement in this area must not be clouded by sentimentality over an historic night for Chelsea and it may even prove better for both parties if the 34-year-old continues the latter stages of his career elsewhere.


His contract has now expired and the reported offers from places like China and Russia would make it expensive to keep him at the club – an expense that is not likely to pay off.


Drogba has done as much as any to deliver Chelsea’s and London’s first ever European Cup, but there is no hiding from the fact that his Premier League season was disappointing.


It has been a struggle for everyone at Stamford Bridge since the abortive reign of Andre Villas-Boas was ended early in March, which is why there should not be great surprise if a number of personnel changes occur over the course of the summer.


The Ivorian contributed with a meagre five goals in 24 appearances and just 16 of those were starts – a consequence of injury niggles and the rotation with Fernando Torres.


The FA Cup and Champions League are fine hauls for a season, but a sixth place finish is severely under par and you cannot rely on Drogba to be as decisive next year as he has been this term.


Chelsea’s win was unlikely and came with a huge slice of luck that will be difficult to replicate next season if they continue to flounder in the nuts and bolts of the Premier League.


Despite their success, there has been a feeling of 'one last hurrah' about this Chelsea season and many of them may be better served to finish on a high.


Drogba is one of these. It was incredible watching how many times he defied the dominance of opposition teams to exert his will onto games, especially so in Europe.


However, there is no denying that his age is beginning to slow him down and his effectiveness on a weekly basis is declining.


The nothing to lose scenarios of this year do not come along often and they can be a fitting setting for him to end his time in west London.


A highly lucrative twilight to his career waits, if reports are to be believed and he chooses to take the route east.


There will be no souring of his legacy with creaking displays that come with a footballer’s veteran status.


Drogba will have left with a much-craved Champions League winners medal, having erased the painful memories of Moscow in 2008 and gave Abramovich the one thing he had craved above all else, but was made to wait nine years for it.


Not only that, but Drogba can leave in the knowledge that he will be seen as the man who made it all possible.

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Didier Drogba
Premier League
UEFA Champions League

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