Q&A: Didier Drogba

2010-01-27 12:30
Didier Drogba (File)
Cape Town - Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba talks about racism in football, playing against his team-mates at the 2010 SWC and strike partner Nicolas Anelka.

Has racism reared its ugly head again in football?
DROGBA: Unfortunately, you can see it at football grounds, it’s just a reflection of society today. What’s happening at the grounds is exactly what’s happening in the towns and cities and in everyday life, unfortunately, and we have to continue to fight it; there’s nothing else to do and, well, I think that’s all we can do.

Do you think it’s Chelsea’s year to win the English Premiership?
DROGBA: Yeah, I hope, we are leading the championship, but we have played badly at times, we have lost a lot of points, but we are still leading the championship so I think, well, I hope that this will be Chelsea’s year.

And Ancelotti? What’s your opinion of Carlo Ancelotti?
DROGBA: He’s a good coach, he’s someone with a lot of experience and someone who has brought some quality into our play and has inspired confidence in our players. Well it’s good.

And Manchester United? Are they your biggest rivals for the English title?
DROGBA: Manchester United, Arsenal and… and you could even say Aston Villa who are really going to cause everyone problems, but, really, I think United and Arsenal.

And, for you, personally, being the leading goal scorer, is that important or not, an accolade like that?
DROGBA: It’s good, if the team win the cup at the same time … if we are the champions and I am the best marksman, yes, I would be happy, otherwise, being top scorer without winning the trophy wouldn’t be … it’s of no interest to me. I personally am happy, but football is a team game.

You’ve been drawn against Portugal in the World Cup. What do you know about them?
DROGBA: Lots of things! I have a lot of Portuguese friends, including in my team, and some very good, very, very good friends. Then, I have played plenty of times against a Portuguese team, Porto are very good, very respectful people, who are loyal, yes … I appreciate that a great deal.

And who are Portugal’s players who you think could make the difference?

DROGBA: Ah, the best ones at the moment are Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco, who I like a lot. He’s a friend – I like his simplicity and the way he plays, but really, there are a lot, a lot of players, too many to mention, because there are players like Pepe, Carvalho, my friend Ricardo Quaresma, José Bosingwa.

The AFCON and the World Cup in Africa: what will this mean to African football?
DROGBA: It would be good. I think that it will help us progress a bit more and it will make African football more visible. You have to realise that, at the moment, there are a lot of African players at the major European clubs, so … it will help football improve, it will be a good shop window of Africa, I reckon.

Have you already talked to Carvalho, Deco or Paulo Ferreira about the match against Portugal; did your relationship with them change after the draw?
DROGBA: No, no, no (LAUGHS). We wonder how it’s going to work out, but there’s a lot of respect, and I know it’s going to be very hard against Ricky, but we’ll see.

Who’s your best friend in football?
DROGBA: Well … Florent Malouda. Before, we played against each other, when I was in the second division and he was in the second division too. Afterwards, we played together at Guingamp, then he went to Lyon and I went to Marseille, before we met up again at Chelsea; our children are very close and we live near each other.

Who is the hardest defender you have ever played against?
DROGBA: Ricardo Carvalho. When he is on form... I knew him, when I was at Marseille. He’s very strong. Very, very strong and, then, in training, he is very good at anticipating and everything, he’s really a very, very good player.

And, Anelka, is he the best striker partner you’ve ever had?
DROGBA: Ah, at the moment, he’s the one I get on with the best. With (Hernan) Crespo too but at the moment it’s going really well with (Nicolas) Anelka and when we play, we don’t calculate things, we just look up and then it’s really good.


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