Drogba tips Torres to succeed in emotional Chelsea farewell
'My blood is blue' says Ivorian striker after ten trophies in eight years at Stamford Bridge
DEPARTING Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has annointed £50m misfit Fernando Torres as his successor at Stamford Bridge after confirming that he is leaving the club after eight years.
The Ivorian striker is now widely expected to join up with former team mate Nicolas Anelka at Shenhua Shanghai in China. News of his imminent departure has prompted a mutual love-in between the player the club and the media, who fondly mulled his career highlights, from the penalty on Saturday to theatrical dives and the wide-eyed rant at referee Tom Henning Ovrebo after defeat by Barcelona in 2009.
Sam Wallace of The Independent described Drogba, who has epitomised the Abramovich years, as "arguably the club's greatest-ever striker".
Drogba, who won 10 trophies, including three Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge, said he was happy to pass on the baton to Torres, who has demanded clear-the-air talks over his role at the club.
That role will be a lot clearer now that Drogba is out of the picture. "We don't understand why we didn't play together more, but that's the past. Torres is the future," the 34-year-old told the BBC. "It's been difficult for him, but he has showed he is the man. Next season is going to be his season."
The big striker then heaped praise on his old club, telling anyone who would listen during a mammoth round of media interviews that his "blood is blue". The Times asked if he would return as manager and he replied: "Yes, why not. I would come back and cut the grass if they asked me."
He also lauded Roman Abramovich and the various managers he has played under, especially Jose Mourinho.
"We helped build something really strong in terms of identity," he told The Guardian. "Now we go everywhere in the world and everyone knows about Chelsea. You go to Africa and people speak about Chelsea. I've seen kids wearing shirts in the streets, in India, everywhere: Chelsea is a brand and we are very proud to have achieved what we have." ·