Didier Drogba has declared that he wants to leave Chelsea because " something is broken" at the club following the departure of Jose Mourinho.
In highly-inflammatory comments, the striker also accused some players of driving the former Chelsea manager out. Although Drogba didn't name anyone Mourinho had an ongoing dispute with Andrei Shevchenko, while he also believes a row with captain John Terry helped seal his fate.
Drogba is the Chelsea player closest to the former manager and claimed that "big damage" has been caused within the squad, although Terry's part in Mourinho's downfall has been exaggerated.
In the interview with France Football, which is published today, Drogba said: "I'm now at a point where I don't feel I have anything else to prove at Chelsea. I need to look elsewhere. I love this club, but now I think it's time to move on. My decision has been made." Drogba is an emotional character and was deeply affected by Mourinho leaving. But he has also never hidden the fact that, despite his success, he has struggled to settle in England following his £24m move from Marseilles three years ago. "Since the day I arrived, I wanted to leave Chelsea and then again every summer," Drogba said. He even named Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Internazionale as his preferred destinations.
Chelsea will hope that they can, once more, appease the Ivorian – and will also be mindful that he said, in the wake of Mourinho going, that he would stay at Stamford Bridge and "obey" his contract.
But in the interview with France Football, a respected journal and one Drogba has close connections with, he added: "Nothing can change my mind. I know that Ronaldinho and Kaka have been linked with moves here, but that won't alter anything for me. At some point, the club hierarchy and I will sit around the table and sort everything out. They know of my intention to leave. Something is broken with Chelsea. The damage has been big in the dressing room because we know now what happened and who caused Mourinho's departure. Nothing can stop me from leaving now."
The fact that Drogba signed a new four-year contract last summer may contradict that especially as Chelsea appeared anxious to tie players such as him and Michael Essien down in the eventuality that Mourinho would leave.
However, his comments are highly damaging to Avram Grant's regime especially as Drogba, who has struggled with injury this season, has appeared a disconsolate figure. Chelsea reacted last night by issuing a cursory statement which is unlikely to heal the situation. "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," it said.