Chelsea star Didier Drogba admits return to Marseille will be highly emotional

07 December 2010 05:05
Didier Drogba's emotions sometimes get the better of him in the Champions League, and the Chelsea striker admits he will struggle to contain them against his former club Marseille on Wednesday.

Drogba has become a world star since he joined Chelsea six years ago, but often speaks about how he owes Marseille a huge debt of gratitude for giving him the chance to shine.

On the spot: Drogba scores against Everton last weekend

'I'm a bit overwhelmed by it all,' Drogba said. 'I'm trying not to mix everything up. In any case, I am submerged with so many emotions that I don't really know what I should expect. It feels really weird.'

He plundered 32 goals in 55 games in his one and only season with Marseille in 2004 when it lost the UEFA Cup final, catching former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho's eye.

'I can't wait to be there, and my teammates will finally discover the Stade Velodrome I've been telling them so much about,' he said. 'At the end of the match, I will go and visit the (home) changing room.'

Chelsea top Group F after five straight wins. Marseille have nine points and finishes second whatever happens.

The 32-year-old Drogba has helped Chelsea to domestic honors, but has never won the Champions League, where his performances have been overshadowed by his outbursts and antics.

Back in the day: Drogba in action for Marseille in the 2004 UEFA Cup final against Valencia

He was sent off in the 2008 final for slapping Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic, and Chelsea lost on penalties.

His frustrations boiled over again when Chelsea was knocked out of the semifinals by Barcelona the following season. Drogba angrily confronted the referee at the end and then glared into a TV camera shouting obscenities. UEFA gave him a lengthy ban and he apologized.

Despite considerable adulation in England, Drogba still pines for Marseille. When Marseille lost 2-0 to Chelsea in the group game in September, Drogba was given a loud ovation by a handful of traveling fans. This time 60,000 will acclaim him at Stade Velodrome.

'It's the first time that I'm experiencing such a situation. I've been back to Guingamp, to Le Mans, but I admit this is really special,' Drogba said. 'Even more so after the reception I got at Stamford Bridge.'

Drogba's rise surprised many as he struggled in the second division with Le Mans, then mid-table Guingamp in the first division. Marseille's gamble paid off when he joined Chelsea for £24m.

Seeing red: Drogba was sent off in the 2008 European Cup final against Manchester United in Moscow

His return is not in ideal circumstances, either, with Chelsea badly struggling for form. Carlo Ancelotti's team has just one win in five games and the goals have dried up for Drogba.

'I'm in a bit of a difficult period,' Drogba said. 'I'm coming back from illness (a bout of malaria) and that weakened me.'

Drogba has not managed a goal from open play for two months and has scored only twice in his last 10 games, both from the penalty spot.

Nicolas Anelka has not scored in six games, winger Florent Malouda has managed one in his last 10.They formed a ruthless attacking trio to lead Chelsea to a domestic league and cup double last season, and seemed unstoppable as Chelsea rattled in 21 goals in its first five league games this time.

Since November, Chelsea has lost to Liverpool, Sunderland and Birmingham and drawn against Newcastle and Everton.

This isn't going according to plan: Drogba and team-mates react following Everton's equaliser at Stamford Bridge

Ancelotti's team selection on Wednesday will be shaped by upcoming Premier League games against Tottenham, United and Arsenal that could decide whether Chelsea stays in the title hunt.

Anelka and defender Ashley Cole are both rested in a young-looking squad featuring Jacopo Sala (19), Billy Clifford (18), Josh McEachran (17), Gael Kakuta (19), Patrick van Aanholt (20) and Jeffery Bruma (19).

In Group F's other game, Zilina has no points and hosts Spartak, which has already qualifed for the Europa League.

Zilina coach Pavel Hapal is without injured midfielder Stefan Zosak, but otherwise has a full squad.

'We have only one thing in mind - to get points,' Hapal said.

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Source: Daily_Mail

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0