Champions League matchwinner Didier Drogba believes it was destiny that Chelsea should finally scoop the prize in Munich on Saturday night. Despite playing the final on their opponents’ home ground, conceding the opening goal with just eight minutes remaining, then giving away a penalty at the start of extra-time and being forced into a shoot-out in front of the Bayern fans, Chelsea emerged victorious.
It was Drogba who kept his nerve to seal the triumph, just as it was the Ivorian whose near-post header a minute from time levelled Thomas Muller’s goal for the hosts. “It was written a long time ago that Chelsea were going to win,” said Drogba. I have been here for eight years and we were always so close, and yet so far at the same time.
“Now we have the cup. The cup is going back to Stamford Bridge and it is the best feeling ever,” said Drogba, who has now scored nine goals in nince cup finals. It took a large degree of nerve for Drogba to take Chelsea’s decisive final penalty.
After all, it is only just over three months ago that he missed a spot-kick that proved to be a key moment in the Ivory Coast’s shock defeat by Zambia in the African Nations Cup final. Yet, if anything, Drogba drew confidence from that setback. “I still had in my head what happened in the African Nations Cup when I could have won the game for my team. But at the same time I was confident. I was just saying to myself ‘Today, we don’t cry’.
“And at the end, when the boss jumped on me I said it again, ‘Today, we don’t cry’.” Once the dust has finally settled — and Drogba gave every impression of wanting to enjoy all the celebrations — the 33-year-old will have to make a decision about his future. The two-year contract he was hoping for from Chelsea has not materialised and there has been speculation for months now that he would leave in the summer for a new life in China. If last night did represent the final game for the most significant member of Chelsea’s ‘old guard’ to leave Stamford Bridge, it was some ending.