Guus Hiddink not expecting Didier Drogba to return to Chelsea this season
Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink does not expect Didier Drogba to return to Stamford Bridge this season after the striker announced his return to training with Montreal Impact.
Drogba earlier this month had discussions with Major League Soccer over his future, but said reports he had retired from playing to join Chelsea's coaching staff were premature.
And that prospect appears to be over - for now.
Hiddink, speaking after Chelsea's 1-0 win at Arsenal on Sunday, said: "On the short-term, yes (there is no prospect).
"But in the longer term we talked about players of a big influence or big image for this club, they are welcome.
"There is no time issue on this."
The 37-year-old Drogba, who has a year to run on his contract with the Canadians, scored 164 goals in 381 appearances for the Blues, 157 of the strikes coming in 341 appearances in his first spell, which concluded with the 2012 Champions League victory in Munich.
Suggestions of a move to Chelsea for a third time gathered pace when the former Ivory Coast striker watched the first match since the departure of Jose Mourinho alongside Hiddink and owner Roman Abramovich against Sunderland on December 19.
Montreal Impact said on Sunday: "Forward Didier Drogba will not be present for the opening of the (training) camp, but he will be doing preparation work in view of the upcoming season.
"He will join the team for the second part of training camp, which will take place from February 15 to 28 in St Petersburg, Florida."
Drogba wrote on Twitter: "On way to Qatar to do some preparation work for pre-season @impactmontreal."
Montreal's season begins against Vancouver Whitecaps on March 6.
Hiddink added: "I wish him all the best now for one of his last seasons."