Departing Drogba backs Torres to shine

Departing Drogba backs Torres to shine

Didier Drogba maintains next season will see the best of Fernando Torres at Chelsea as the Ivory Coast striker prepares for life after Stamford Bridge.

The 34-year-old yesterday announced he was leaving the club whom he helped win the Champions League in Munich to bring the curtain down on a trophy-laden spell in west London.

Drogba - signed from Marseille for £24m in 2004 - is now expected to join up with former Blues team-mate Nicolas Anelka at Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in a lucrative free transfer.

It remains to be seen who will take over team affairs, with Chelsea set to wait until Roberto Di Matteo's contract expires at the end of June before deciding on the Italian's future after the interim manager delivered an FA Cup and European Cup double.

Spain striker Torres may feel he has had to play second fiddle to Drogba since his £50m move from Liverpool 18 months ago, but the veteran is in no doubt who will be the new goal king of Stamford Bridge.

"It has been difficult for him, but he has showed he is the man. Next season is going to be his season and I will try to speak to him," said Drogba.

"We have a good relationship. We don't understand why we didn't play together more, but that's the past. Torres is the future."

Drogba admitted had Chelsea not won the Champions League, delivered with his decisive penalty in the shoot-out, then he might have been tempted to stay for one more crack at Roman Abramovich's 'Holy Grail'.

Speaking to Radio Five Live, he said: "I think winning the game was the key. Not me scoring the penalty. Winning the game was the turning point, that's why I have decided to say goodbye.

"We made the story together and I want people to remember that. This is the best time to move on.

"Yes, there's a chance that if the result was different, maybe I would be here.

"We were talking for many weeks, but the turning point was based on the fact I won everything I could and scored in most of the finals we have played, trying to make a difference.

"I hope everyone will understand. Everything I did was for the fans and I hope they understand."

Drogba added: "Leaving Chelsea in any case would be difficult, but now even more. It is impossible, Chelsea is in my heart. My blood is blue and my heart even more so."

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