Will Chelsea release the Drog?


The league only just ended and the annual transfer hype is once again less boring that it was last year (rinse and repeat next year?). Once again, the stories of top targets are still predictable and usually interminable. You drop a big name and more than likely, you will end up with stories the gossip media cashes on while rubbing their hands. However here, the magnifying glass is over football’s recent unsung hero, Didier Drogba and his mysterious future. The current Chelsea forward has helped forge and define the history of the beautiful game, inspire and give directions to the new generation; and that not only in England. His individual honours speak louder than my words.

It’s 2012, times where health tips are not only accessible but also shoved in your face on cereal boxes, coffee jars, juice cartons, even your Subway now has a bunch of tiny texts with all the calorie and nutritional value. If you are like me, an easy-going eater (of vegetables mostly), these might still seem like hieroglyphic notes? Modern Nutritional science shapes not only our food shelves but also the world of professional sports. Unlike us, and probably not to your surprise either, I might underline how professional athletes nowadays are extensively monitored and recorded. Diets, workout sessions, weight, body fat and who knows what else? The one and only legendary Diego Maradona might give us some light on the topic. At least, as a true great admirer of his godlike footballing skills, I hope he does not read this.

Point is, does constant health monitoring extend the playing time and fitness of players, some at least? I’m naming a few here, Scholes, Giggs, Forlan, Puyol, Bellamy, Gerrard and Drogba… all the players who being human, did lose their youthful edge after their late twenties but never lost their class, and that’s where the technical intelligence on how to efficiently make use of these players is required from managers. Ask MLS fans if Henry is a wonder to watch and I am sure the answer would lean towards the flattering end. For the Premier League fans though, the opinion shared might be different. Thierry Henry’s game was heavily based on pace and unfortunately once gone, never quite managed to readjust and compensate towards a new balance that worked. Henry is undeniably still one of the greatest strikers of the ball, just not the same player the Premier league experienced.

Veteran Didier Drogba, now at 34, seems in a cloud of uncertainty regarding his future. The Ivorian striker is an icon of football all over the world, rising during his time in “Emperor” Abramovich’s fortress, leaving his mark as a striker with a game revolving around strength, placement, positioning, timing, power and sharp finishing. Drogba still meets more that the basic requirements of top European teams but the man’s unconditional love is with Chelsea and that can be rightfully unquestioned. While being a leader by example, an inspirational icon, an unquestionably skilful player and the first African footballer to bring his goal tally to 100 in the Premier League, the former Marseille star has matured but his fitness, sharpness, power, precision, movement and the trademark “Bulldozer” abilities still seem to be under the hood. Maybe the radiator’s cap has a few scratches but the engine is still that of a naturally talented centre forward with influential presence and a never give up mentality. Rising star, Romelu Lukaku might have a lot to say about the Ivorian’s inspirational contribution to his blossoming career.

The Chelsea powerhouse is only 34 but it seems like in the world of football “they” might find “already 34” a more suitable and fitting description… I disagree for Didier, even if supporting Arsène Wenger’s team since my early teens makes it somehow strange that I even thought of writing about the 2-time Ivorian player of the year. It seems like the dreaded “30” in England more often than not, spells disaster to the professional footballer; a trend that could do with a modern revision with the ingenuity of Sir Alex Ferguson’s management as supportive argument.

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