Drogba: Cech should stay at Chelsea
Published 25/05/2015 | 23:36
Didier Drogba decided to leave Chelsea to give youth a chance - but the departing striker wants Petr Cech to stay and fight for his place.
Drogba's final match after two spells totalling nine years as a Chelsea player concluded with Sunday's 3-1 win over Sunderland, after which the Blues lifted the Premier League title.
Drogba, Cech and captain John Terry were in the teams which have won all of Chelsea's four Premier League titles, but the striker now says manager Jose Mourinho should look to the future.
Drogba believes the Blues need to strengthen in a bid to win the Champions League title they won in 2012 again and should show faith in youth.
"The team needs to be stronger next year to compete in the Champions League," said Drogba, after Chelsea's last-16 elimination on away goals to Paris St Germain this term.
"They are going to buy new players. Also we have young players coming up, the (Dominic) Solankes, (Ruben) Loftus-Cheeks, (Nathan) Akes, all these boys. They need to play."
Drogba is deliberating over his next destination and says he could never play for another English club.
He was carried off on his team-mates' shoulders in a pre-planned first-half substitution on Sunday after announcing his departure prior to kick-off.
He wishes to play on one more season and feels the need to leave to get the game time he craves.
Cech, who has one year left on his contract, could also depart after being displaced by Thibaut Courtois this term following a decade as first choice goalkeeper.
"I think the club should keep him because we know who Petr Cech is at this club," Drogba said.
"No matter what happens I think the club will respect his decision.
"If he wants to stay, he can stay. I think he is more than welcome here.
"If he wants to go it's his choice as well. It's up to him. But we want him to stay."
Drogba could return to Stamford Bridge in some capacity in the future - "I think we are going to find a way... if I come back it's for a reason," he said - but first he wants another year as a player.
A move to Major League Soccer, joining Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, seems plausible, with Drogba saying he received calls from clubs in the immediate aftermath of the Sunderland match.
"Since I put it on social media I was in the dressing room and I was receiving some calls from teams. Really unusual," he said.
"It was funny and interesting also because it really showed that maybe I can still bring something to a team.
"I am going to take a few days, few weeks to think about what is good for me next. But all I want to do is play."