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Mourinho: Drogba belongs to Chelsea

ESPN staff
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Drogba weighs up Chelsea return

Jose Mourinho has insisted Didier Drogba "belongs to Chelsea" and says the striker would still be capable of terrorising Premier League defences if he sealed an emotional return to Stamford Bridge.

Drogba's contract at Galatasaray expired at the end of last season and he is currently a free agent.

The 36-year-old striker spent eight years at Stamford Bridge from 2004-2012 and scored the equaliser and winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final. He then left for one-year stints in China and Turkey.

Jose Mourinho brought Didier Drogba to Stamford Bridge in 2004 © Getty Images
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But Drogba is leaning toward rejoining Chelsea rather than accepting an offer to play for Juventus or in Major League Soccer, according to the Daily Telegraph. Mourinho said Chelsea would love to bring him back and that it would be more than just a token gesture.

"We want to win matches and win titles, and Didier is one of the best strikers in Europe, who is still very adapted to the needs of the Premier League, and we are thinking about it in a non-emotional way," said Mourinho.

"If you bring him back, it is not because he is Didier or scored the most important goal in the history of Chelsea, or because I read I need an assistant, no.

"If I bring him back - and the decision has to be made soon, because I want to close the dressing-room door - it is because as a player he has certain qualities to make the team stronger.

"With Didier's profile, being a squad player I think could be important for any team. And because we know his heart is pushing him to where he feels he belongs, and because our boss (owner Roman Abramovich) has this big feeling towards him, we are thinking about the possibility.

"Mr Abramovich is very intelligent and he feels that people belong to the club. We feel that Didier belongs to us. Is he coming back as a player one more year or a couple more years? Let's see."

Chelsea said farewell to another club legend this summer in all-time leading goalscorer Frank Lampard, with the 36-year-old completing a move to MLS side New York City FC on Thursday.

However, Mourinho said he expects Lampard to return to Chelsea in some capacity after his playing career concludes.

"The way Mr Abramovich approached the Frank Lampard situation is amazing," said Mourinho. "'You go if you want to go, you come back if you want to come back. And you come back the way you want - to be an assistant, to be an ambassador, to be a director to be a coach, to be an assistant coach.' That is fantastic.

"I have a message for Frank. Good luck and see you back at Chelsea in a couple of years."

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