Champions League

Drogba to 'respect' Chelsea

2014-03-17 22:16
Didier Drogba (AFP)

London - Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba admits he is unlikely to celebrate if he scores on his emotional return to Chelsea in the Champions League.

Drogba will be back at Stamford Bridge for the first time since leaving the Premier League club in 2012 when Galatasaray face Chelsea in a last 16 second leg clash on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old, whose final act as a Chelsea player was scoring the decisive penalty in the 2012 Champions League final win over Bayern Munich, returns to his old stomping ground with the tie delicately poised at 1-1 after the first leg.

The Ivory Coast international, who remains a hero to Chelsea fans and is still a close friend of Blues boss Jose Mourinho, is sure to get a warm welcome back in west London.

And, speaking at a pre-match press conference on Monday, Drogba conceded he would feel mixed emotions when he was asked if he would celebrate scoring the decisive goal at the Bridge.

"With all the respect that I have for this club, for the fans and for the players, I might not celebrate, but if we win I'll be happy," Drogba said.

"I'm really happy to come back and to see some familiar faces.

"It's a big game. The Champions League is a big competition and it means a lot for my team. I'll find a way to play.

"It's very difficult to play against Chelsea, but it's not going to be difficult for me to put myself into the competition mode.

"Now I belong to Galatasaray. I need to be professional.

"Of course there will be emotions. Like the first leg to see my ex-team-mates and also the Chelsea fans in the stadium was special.

"But then there was the game and the game as you could see was tough, was good, with high intensity. I think it's going to be the same tomorrow."

Mourinho, who signed Drogba for Chelsea from Marseille in 2004, was given a rousing ovation when he made his return to the Blues dugout in August after a near six-year absence and hopes the Ivorian will experience similar acclaim.

"To leave Chelsea on a high like I did, if I could do it I would do it again the same way," Drogba added.

"But then I always say that I believe in destiny and if I ever wanted to play again for this team, I think it could have happened a long time ago. As it didn't there's no problem with that. I'm really happy at Galatasaray.

"I'm focusing on this game tomorrow, because for me it's an important one and I want it to be the best one."

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