Chelsea: Hero Didier Drogba Returns But We're Still Favourites
There is no sentiment in football – or so we are told.
In an era of players who ‘always dreamed of wearing the shirt’ and have ‘been a fan since I was a boy’ at just about every club who offers them more than 20k a week (yes Robbie Keane, we are looking at you) and players who literally see football as a business or a job, it is not really surprising.
Add to that the price of tickets these days, not to mention a beer and pie at the game, and certain owners who seem determined to suck the life and soul out of clubs and you cannot really blame fans for using that phrase.
However, come 7.45pm on Wednesday night, that notion could well be tested to the absolute maximum.
Chelsea are a club that have been accused of being soulless, ruining football and have a manager who has been called an enemy of the game – wrongly of course – but if you want some emotion and sentimentality this week, watch their game.
Not only will manager Jose Mourinho be facing a couple of his former players- who he is still in close contact with and who he regards as part of his footballing family, but Chelsea will face the return of one of their all-time greats.
Didier Drogba is considered a hero amongst the Blues faithful for more than one reason, and his last kick of the ball for Chelsea will go down in history. No one wanted that victory in Munich more, and Drogba was vital in getting the club there, on and off the field.
It will be emotional for the Chelsea supporters, the Chelsea manger – who was of course the one who demanded that Drogba was brought in the first place instead of showboating Brazilian Ronaldhino (and thank God for that) and who made him the beast he is today.
It will also of course be emotional for Drogba himself – his family still live in Surrey and the player himself has been batting his eyelids at Chelsea and Mourinho this week ahead of a potential summer return that would be the stuff of dreams.
All eyes will be on the forward to see not only if he scores a goal, but just how – if at all – he would celebrate if he did.
The trip to Gala is far from the easy tie it may seem on paper – the club have some top players and it is a tough place to go with an intimidating atmosphere. Real Madrid nearly found that to their cost last season and Terry and co will have to be at full force to stop the might of the Turkish side.
That being said, Mourinho and his men are favourites and despite the return of old faces, the Blues will be looking to take an away goal back to the home leg at the very least.
After all, Drogba claims he ‘can score at Stamford Bridge with my eyes shut,’ and we don’t doubt him for one second. Imagine what a sentimental story that would be.