Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Fans' favourite Drogba back for second Chelsea stint

Returning hero: Didier Drogba has re-signed for London Blues
Returning hero: Didier Drogba has re-signed for London Blues

Didier Drogba will begin his second spell at Chelsea next season after agreeing a one-year deal with Jose Mourinho's side.

The 36-year-old striker and Blues favourite returns to Stamford Bridge after leaving in 2012 for stints at Shanghai Shenhua and Galatasaray.

"It was an easy decision – I couldn't turn down the opportunity to work with Jose again. Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me," Drogba said.

With Drogba becoming a free agent after leaving Galatasaray at the end of last season there is no transfer fee involved.

The Ivorian marksman was named Chelsea's greatest ever player in a poll of fans in 2012 after scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances.

His last act in a Blues shirt was to rifle home the winning penalty in the shoot-out against Bayern Munich that seized the London club's first Champions League crown two years ago.

"My desire to win is still the same and I look forward to the opportunity to help this team. I'm excited for this next chapter of my career," Drogba said.

Mourinho, who originally lured Drogba to Chelsea for £24million in 2004, insists the decision to re-sign the club's fourth highest scorer of all time was not clouded by sentimentality.

"Didier is coming because he is still one of the best strikers in Europe," Mourinho said. "I know his personality very well and I know if he comes back he's not protected by history or what he's done for this club previously.

"He is coming with the mentality to make more history."

It was Drogba's equalising header that took the 2012 Champions League final into extra time and his 34 goals in European competition are a Chelsea record, as are his nine goals in nine cup finals.

The first spell at Stamford Bridge, spanning eight years, produced three Barclays Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and that prized victory over Bayern Munich.

Although his stint in China lasted less than one year of a two-and-a-half year deal amid allegations of unpaid wages, he enjoyed greater success at Galatasaray, winning the 2012-13 Turkish league title.

At Chelsea he joins a crop of strikers including new signing Diego Costa, plus Romelu Lukaku and Victor Moses, both of whom spent last season out on loan.

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