Thursday, October 18, 2007

Drogba Wants to Leave Chelsea

I've been away from the screen for the past few days, due to various reasons.

In the meantime, African football has been providing fans with saucy plotlines to follow.

First comes attacks on Mali players that followed the 2-0 away win over Togo in their decisive African Cup of Nations qualifier in Lome, Togo on Friday. The BBC reports that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is looking into the incidents. Today, the CAF said they will order an indefinite ban on Togo's Kegue stadium following attacks on Mali players after a key African Nations Cup qualifier last Friday. Further disciplinary action is to follow.

Then, FC Barcelona have asked their African stars to skip January's African Cup of Nations. Let's hope this request is emphatically turned down.

Next, the Confederation of African Football released their seedings for January's Cup of Nations in Ghana. The draw takes place tomorrow (come back and check out our analysis of the groups for the tournament). Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Ghana head the list of the 16 countries that have qualified for the African trophy.

But today's news is probably the biggest shocker, coming from Africa's best player.

Current African Footballer of the Year and Chelsea FC starlet Didier Drogba told a journalist he wants out from Chelsea.

"I want to leave Chelsea. Something is broken with the club," Drogba was quoted as telling France Football magazine due to be published on Friday.

However, the west London club were quick to dismiss the idea of a possible transfer.
"Didier Drogba signed a new four-year contract last year. As a top professional we are sure Didier is committed to Chelsea and intends to honour that contract," the club said on their Web site (

Drogba was one of the players most affected by Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho's departure last month.

The coach, who led Chelsea to back-to-back league titles in 2005 and 2006, along with two League Cups and the FA Cup, has been replaced by Israel's Avram Grant.

"I can't hide the fact that I've taken this whole business very badly, probably because I made the mistake of allowing too much of an emotional attachment in my relations with the coach," Drogba said.

"I can only say that I have been unpleasantly surprised by some people."

He added: "Ever since I arrived, I've been mulling a lot of things over, because I hadn't chosen my destination. My relations with Chelsea have always been bizarre."

"Right from the very first day, I wanted to leave. And every summer after that. But, despite that, I've stayed here for four seasons -- the best of my career."

Drogba, whose last comment indicated he would stay until the end of this season, added he would like to play either in Italy's Serie A or Spain's La Liga.

"I've got the impression that I have nothing else to prove here. I need to go and look somewhere else. I need new challenges and these two countries really attract me."

"I have made my decision. Nothing will hold me here. I know people are saying that Ronaldinho and Kaka will be here next season but it will not change my desire (to leave). I will not change my mind, probably because something has broken (in my relations) with Chelsea."

Drogba added that only five clubs attracted him: "AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid. And Marseille."

Mourinho spent 24 million pounds ($49.06 million) when he bought Drogba from Marseille in July 2004.

The striker took a while to settle before finding his form with a vengeance last season, scoring 33 goals for Chelsea, the most in the English Premiership.

Where will Drogba land? Will he change his mind? How will the Chelsea faithful react to the Ivorian's strong words? Will Chelsea management attempt to wash their hands of Drogba and sell him during the winter transfer period, when he's set to miss time due to the African Nations Cup?

All intriguing questions ...


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