Report: Drogba set to leave Chelsea

Didier Drogba has confirmed he plans to quit Chelsea following his Champions League final heroics, according to reports in France.

Football News: Didier Drogba.

Update: Latest statements from Drogba's agent indicate that the comments supposedly made by the striker about an impending departure from Chelsea "are not geniune". However, France Football magazine stands by the quotes reported below.

The striker has been quoted saying he informed his team-mates of his decision during the club's open-top bus parade yesterday after leading them to the greatest moment in their history on Saturday night.

Drogba, who has reportedly already agreed a deal to join Shanghai Shenhua when his Chelsea contract expires this summer, is said to have admitted he struggled to get the words out and burst into tears.

"We will no longer be together next season," the 34-year-old said in quotes attributed to France Football magazine.

"As I decided to leave, I wanted to tell them straight in the eye.

"Except that I could not do it. They made me crack.

"Even though it's been three years since I said I wanted to leave, I find it hard to admit that it's over with this club - especially as I did not feel like this.

"But I could not see myself sitting on the bench to watch others play when the club plans to set up a new team.

"So that's it - I am preparing for my leap into the unknown. It's going to be another adventure."

Drogba's departure would put a dampener on the jubilant Champions League celebrations of most of Chelsea's players and fans, who engaged in chants of, "Didier Drogba, we want you to stay", during yesterday's open-top bus parade.

The Blues hierarchy had said they planned to sit down with the Ivory Coast star after Saturday's final in a bid to agree a contract extension.

Whether they still make an 11th-hour attempt to keep him in the wake of his reported quotes remains to be seen.

But it has been suggested that even if Drogba does perform a dramatic U-turn, Chelsea may need to pay Shanghai some sort of compensation, with the forward reportedly having already agreed a £250,000-a-week deal with the Chinese club.

The player has long been linked with a move to the far east after contract talks with the Blues broke down last year.

Drogba snubbed the offer of a one-year extension, while Chelsea refused to bow to his demands for a two-year deal.

The stalemate was allowed to continue right up until Saturday's final, which saw Drogba once again prove he was the man for the big occasion with a dramatic late equaliser and winning penalty-shootout strike against Bayern Munich.

Watch: Drogba says he is leaving Chelsea.. More Videos

That appeared to be because Chelsea had decided they were ready to move on from Drogba and build what is often been referred to as a "hungry, young team" - one more in the mould of vanquished European champions Barcelona.

It has been reported that Drogba is resigned to leaving but chief executive Ron Gourlay has kept the door open on him remaining.

He said: "Conversations with Didier have been going on for months and still are.

"He's made it clear he loves Chelsea and loves everything he's achieved at the club."

One man unlikely to shed a tear at Drogba's leaving party is Fernando Torres, the man billionaire Blues owner Roman Abramovich spent a record £50million on as the Ivorian's long-term replacement.

Torres became the latest Chelsea striker to be put in his place by Drogba and his frustrations boiled over after they were crowned kings of Europe, the 28-year-old attacking the club's treatment of him and threatening to quit.

The Spain star was seeking reassurance over his future role - one that could well be more prominent once Drogba is out of the picture.

Gourlay expressed some sympathy for the Spain international.

"Torres came on when we were behind and played a big part to help us win the Champions League," he said.

"I'd be surprised if Fernando, who's been awesome, didn't want more time on the field, every player does."

However, it is doubtful Chelsea would not move to replace their talisman, and they have long been linked with a host of top strikers, including Radamel Falcao, Hulk and Edinson Cavani.

Their Champions League win also gave Eden Hazard food for thought after the Lille playmaker looked set to join one of the Manchester clubs, while Sao Paulo's Lucas Moura and Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle are other reported targets.

The future of interim manager Roberto Di Matteo remained up in the air today.

The Italian is already being heavily linked with the likes of Aston Villa - his family home is in the midlands - as well as former club Lazio and even Liverpool.

Di Matteo had been scheduled to play in the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am golf tournament at Wentworth on Wednesday before flying to Barbados at the end of the week for the British Airways Football Legends Invitational on Saturday and Sunday.

He was then expected to take the family holiday he has craved ever since being handed the reins at Chelsea three months ago.

Di Matteo may want to know his fate before then, while the Blues definitely want their next manager in place before they fly to the United States for a pre-season tour on July 15.

There is talk of Di Matteo being offered a one-year deal, while Abramovich waits for Pep Guardiola to complete his planned sabbatical.

Whether Di Matteo would be prepared to continue under such conditions - or even with the spectre of Guardiola looming over him were he to be offered a longer contract - remains to be seen.




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