Friday 23 March 2018

Didier Drogba to retire and make emotional Chelsea return as coach under Guus Hiddink

Didier Drogba, Roman Abramovich and Guus Hiddink at Stamford Bridge. Getty Images
Didier Drogba, Roman Abramovich and Guus Hiddink at Stamford Bridge. Getty Images

Samuel Stevens

Didier Drogba is set to retire from club football to join Chelsea’s backroom staff, reports in France suggest.

The 37-year-old left the Premier League champions for Montreal Impact last summer but Guus Hiddink’s arrival at Stamford Bridge last month, replacing Jose Mourinho, has opened the door for the Ivorian to return in a coaching capacity.

Members of the Blues hierarchy believe Drogba’s presence could be key as Hiddink looks to win over a dressing room many believe to be unsettled by their poor start to the campaign.

The former Ivory Coast international famously scored the vital penalty in the 2012 Champions League final to give the London club their first and only taste of success in the competition.

L’Equipe state that sources in Canada have informed them that Drogba will announce his decision in time to be in the dugout for the Champions League meeting with Paris Saint-Germain on 16 February. In reality it could be far sooner than that.

It remains to be seen how much of a severance package Chelsea will be required to pay Montreal in compensation but the Major League Soccer side are believed to have expected an approach.

In December, Montreal's official Twitter account provided an update on the situation.

They tweeted: "We are currently in contact with Didier Drogba and Chelsea FC. We are doing everything we can to have him back with the Impact in 2016.

"We understand his attachment to his former club and his desire to help them. We are willing to accommodate him.

"But our objective is to have him back for another season, as agreed in his contract. This situation is out of our control.

"We would like to thank our supporters for their understanding and their patience."

Independent News Service

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