Didier Drogba has been both a hero and villain in Chelsea’s attempts to win the Champions League. When the club finally succeeded in winning the trophy in 2012 the player was lost for words. Recounting his previous experiences with the trophy, it is easy to see why.
In 2008, Chelsea reached the champions league final and Drogba was a pivotal figure in getting them there. However the final against Manchester United did not go to plan and was a frustrating time as Ronaldo was rising to his incredible standards that would change the face of football. During extra time Drogba lost control and slapped Vidic in the face and was sent off a result. United went on to win the game in penalties.
In 2009 things did not get any better. Chelsea played Barcelona in the semi-final of the competition. Chelsea was denied numerous appeals for penalties during the game. As the match ended Drogba could be seen approaching the referee and calling him a “f**king disgrace”. The player received a 6 match ban for his outburst.
Three years later in 2012 Drogba would get his opportunity to right all the wrongs as he was part of the side that finally brought the Champions League to Stamford Bridge and did so as man of the match in the final. After so many years of coming close and often being the reason for not achieving success, Drogba turned it all around by producing a display that allowed Chelsea to finally win the trophy with his help.
In the final, it all looked to be going wrong again when Muller scored in the 83rd minute. With time ticking away Drogba managed to score a header and draw the final level. In extra-time, though he became the villain again as he brought Ribery down in the box and gave away a penalty. Thankfully Cech saved the shot, meaning the game would be decided by penalties. Drogba who had missed the final penalty at the final of the Africa Cup of Nations earlier that year took the final penalty here as well. This time he did not miss.
Drogba’s steel and nerve showed through in the end and he was central to one of Chelsea’s greatest achievements. While he played the role of a villain many times in his career, this time he was the hero.