KEIR RADNEDGE in Munich: Didier Drogba did everything but confirm that his Champions League-winning penalty was also his last kick of a football for Chelsea.
Speculation has been increasing that the 34-year-old Ivorien would be leaving Stamford Bridge during the summer. He shuffled around the question after Chelsea’s dramatic shootout win over Bayern in Munich but the manner of his tribute to all his past team-mates and managers left little doubt of his intentions.
Drogba said: “You can’t take decisions at emotional moments like this. I said earlier this week that the most important thing was not my future but what we achieved today and the way the players were fighting to win this cup, the way the fans were supporting us even when we conceded the goal.
“Considering the way we played this season in the Champions League and turned things around against Napoli and Barcelona – I think we are great champions and deserve to be champions.”
Asked for the secret of success and the crucial moments, Drogba said: “I think it’s in our dna. For me the turning point of the season was the goal-line clearance Ashley Cole made in Napoli. We could have been 4-1 down and all done.
“When I came here players like Frank Lampard, John Terry and Carlo Cudicini showed us all the way to behave as a Chelsea player so I tried with them to share that spirit and winning mentality and I think today it’s turned into a big achievement for the squad. I want to say thankyou to all the players I’ve been playing with since 2004 and thanks to all the managers – they improved me as a player and as a person and I’m very happy.
Drogba has a remarkable record of nine goals in nine finals with Chelsea, including his last-minute equaliser against Bayern in normal time.
He said: “Thisis a great day for the club, for our fans, for the players, and there are not enough words to describe the way I feel. As for the nine goals in nine finals – it just happened. I don’t know how. The only thing I know is today I’m smiling.
“In Moscow, when we lost on penalties to Manchester United, it was very difficult, very painful for the players, the club and fans and today we managed to change it around. Again, it was an amazing game, it was a crazy game. Losing a goal 10 minutes before the end and then I scored in the last min. We gave everything. I don’t know if we have enough energy to party!”
Drogba said that in preparing for his decisive penalty he was haunted by memories of his infamous penalty miss for the Ivory Coast in the African Nations Cup Final against ultimate winners Zambia.
But he added: “Then I gained confident because of all the things that had happened. Petr Cech is the best goalkeeper in the world, with all the saves he made today and before – he took us to this final. So when I went to take my penalty I wanted to score for him and for my team mates and I wanted to make JT [John Terry] smile – unlike the other time in Moscow . . . this is the best win ever.”
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