Thursday, 7 January 2016

Drogba's impending retirement clears path for Chelsea return

Drogba's impending retirement clears path for Chelsea return 
The 37-year-old is on the verge of returning to Stamford Bridge as part of Guus Hiddink's backroom team, with the Dutch coach pushing for the Ivorian to join his staff
Didier Drogba’s return to Chelsea moved a step closer on Wednesday night, amid reports that he has retired from football and thus voided his contract with Montreal Impact.

The 37-year-old moved to play down the revelations, announcing in a tweet that he is still in conversation with the MLS club regarding his future and saying he has "not yet announced [his] retirement", though talks will continue over a departure that would signal the end of his playing days.

The Blues legend signed an 18-month deal with the Canadian side in the summer after his deal with Chelsea came to an end, scoring 11 goals in 11 appearances in MLS and notably netting a hat-trick on his first start.
Lovely to receive these messages but I have not yet announced my retirement & am still in discussion with @impactmontreal about my future.

But the Ivorian has been locked in talks with Montreal over ending his stay early in order to join the new coaching set up at Chelsea, with reports emerging that he is set to announce his retirement in the coming days.

The decision would free Drogba up to be reunited with Guus Hiddink at Stamford Bridge, who has made no secret of his desire to bring his one-time charge back to the club.

Drogba enjoyed his near four-month spell working under Hiddink back in 2009 when the Dutchman was drafted in following the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari, scoring in three straight games as Chelsea won the FA Cup.

The 37-year-old sat alongside Hiddink in Roman Abramovich’s box for Chelsea’s first match following Jose Mourinho’s dismissal, a 3-1 victory over Sunderland in December.

At the time, Hiddink revealed he was trying to add Drogba to Chelsea’s backroom staff, though his existing contract would prove to be a stumbling block.

“We definitely intend to get him involved,” confirmed the Dutchman at the end of 2015. “We want to get important players involved with the club they care about. Drogba's heart is with Chelsea.”
 Hiddink later mooted the possibility of Drogba returning to the club merely in an ambassadorial role, but stressed his belief that a player with his experience would be best utilised in a coaching capacity.

“It depends on the player himself, you need to give them time and opportunities to find out what the best is for them,” Hiddink explained.

“It may be on the coaching staff or maybe as an ambassador, but that is too official and functional for me. They need to go into the squad and help players with their experience.

“I am not in favour of a big ambassador role - travelling round the world with a tie on. They must give their huge experience to help especially the young kids and helping older ones with problems in their career.”

Drogba enjoyed a successful first spell with Chelsea between 2004 and 2012, winning three Premier League titles, two League Cups, four FA Cups and the Champions League before returning to the club in 2014.

The 37-year-old won a fourth Premier League title and third League Cup last term but left for Montreal after the 2014-15 campaign.

He was linked with a coaching role under Mourinho last season, with Abramovich known to be keen to get Drogba involved with the club in a non-playing capacity, and he now looks set to add a new chapter to his Chelsea career.

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