Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Scolari reveals Drogba conflict

Luiz Felipe Scolari
Luiz Felipe Scolari

Luiz Felipe Scolari has revealed he tried to offload Didier Drogba while Chelsea manager and confirmed the pair had "conflicts" during his short reign at Stamford Bridge.

It has long been thought Scolari and Drogba had clashed while the former was in charge of the Blues, with the latter's agent claiming after Scolari's sacking just over two years ago that one of them had to go. And it now appears Scolari failed to convince billionaire owner Roman Abramovich to swap Drogba for then Inter Milan striker Adriano.

He told TB Arena Sport TV: "I didn't leave Chelsea because of sabotage from the players, but it is true that it was difficult to control the dressing room. Drogba believed he was the star in the squad and I did have conflicts with him. He wanted to go to a hospital in Paris because of an injury, but I said no."

Scolari added: "That was my first problem because (Nicolas) Anelka did well in his absence and scored many goals. When Drogba came back, he wanted to go straight back into the team but I said no."

"I also wanted Abramovich to change Drogba for Adriano at Inter, because it was easier to control him than Drogba."

Scolari also claimed midfielder Michael Ballack and Deco did not speak to each other following the latter's arrival from Barcelona.

"Ballack wanted to be one of the owners of the dressing room and the relationship with the German was not easy," Scolari said.

"He seemed jealous of Deco, did not want his arrival and I had to explain that I was the coach and it was up to me. I wanted Deco to work it out with Ballack, but it wasn't possible. They didn't speak to each other."

Scolari, who quit his job at Portugal manager to take charge of Chelsea in 2008, lasted just over seven months at Stamford Bridge. His reign began brightly but results deteriorated and he was sacked in February 2009 amid fears the club could fail to qualify for the Champions League.

"I was very depressed after my exit and for two months I didn't want to even talk about football," he said.

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