Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba has disclosed that the conversation he had with Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, during their time at Stamford Bridge helped to save his career at the West London club.
The 40-year-old said that his Blues career could have been over before it had even got started, but Mourinho saved it by telling him that “I would go to war with you”.
Drogba, who officially announced his retirement on Wednesday night, joined Chelsea from Marseille back in 2004.
He scored 164 goals in 381 games for Chelsea and won four Premier League titles, FA Cup and the Champions League in 2012.
Drogba spent the last 18 months of his career with USL club, Phoenix Rising, which he was a co-owner.
“The only time I doubted myself was the time I moved from Marseille to Chelsea,” Drogba told The Sun.
“Two and a half years earlier I was a sub in the French second division.
“And then, boom, suddenly I was at a club who became one of the biggest in the world. A new country, new culture…and I was like ‘hmmm, is not all too fast for me? Can I make it here? Is it too much?’
“I was a bit scared to fail and after my first difficult year at Chelsea I spoke to Jose Mourinho and told him ‘I’m not happy here. Maybe this is not for me and I need to leave.’
“But he was saying ‘no, you have to stay. I will help you.’
“Everything had been so comfortable for me in France and after that first season in England, I was looking for that comfort zone again, which meant going back to Marseille and being the only striker.
“And then I heard the manager saying something really interesting to all the players.
“He said ‘if you want to be the only king then go back to the team where you were playing before and score 100 goals.
“But here at Chelsea there are 22 kings, so you have to accept that and work together. Or you go’.
“That’s when I understood that Chelsea were giving me the challenge to go beyond what I had already done.
“That’s when I knew I needed to improve and it’s why I became the player I was.
“It was a special relationship with Mourinho and it really boosted my confidence when he would tell me ‘I would go to war with you’.
“Coming from the guy who had won the Champions League and was at the top of the English game really meant a lot.”