Nobody could accuse Didier Drogba of failing on the big stage and it would be no surprise to see the Ivorian bag the winning goal against Manchester United in the Champions League final later in May. After all, he scored the winner in last season’s FA Cup final, notched two against Arsenal in March to reignite Chelsea’s title dream and landed another brace against Liverpool on Wednesday night.
His latest goalscoring exploits followed hard on the heels of some pretty heavy-duty criticism from opposition manager Rafael Benitez, who might as well have called the striker a cheat, insinuating that he knew all about Drogba’s antics in and around the penalty area and that he had instructed his central defenders to keep a watchful eye out for the player.
However, The Independent report that Benitez doesn’t think his comments backfired in the slightest, instead pointing to the fact that reaching the Moscow final served as motivation enough. They hardly will have helped though, would they Rafa?
“More motivation than to play a final?” Benitez said. “I don’t think so. After the match it’s easy to talk. I just wanted a level-playing field.”
Manchester United – be warned not to make Drogba angry! The Chelsea striker apparently had a photo of Rafa above his peg in the dressing room and had the following to say.
“Maybe he felt his team wasn’t strong enough,” Drogba said of why he had been singled out by Benitez.
The Ivory Coast captain has had the last laugh on this occasion and can look forward to at least three more matches in a Chelsea shirt. However, his future at Stamford Bridge remains far from clear, with rumours abounding that he’s likely to sign for Inter in the summer.