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Exactly 15 years ago on July 20, 2004, former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho signed Didier Drogba from Marseille for £24m, a then club record signing.
Many including Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich were surprised at Mourinho’s decision to sign Drogba and some even predicted he would flop at Chelsea.
Drogba rewarded Mourinho for his faith in him by scoring 164 goals for Chelsea, becoming the club’s fourth most prolific scorer. Drogba was a key figure in the spine of arguably Chelsea’s best-ever team alongside Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele, John Terry and Petr Cech.
Drogba won four Premier League titles with Chelsea, as well as four FA Cups, three League Cups and the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League, when he scored the winning penalty in the final.
Drogba took to Twitter to thank Chelsea, Jose Mourinho and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich as he marked the day he joined Chelsea fifteen years ago.
“Already fifteen years ago they said you were crazy to sign me, you just answered: ‘Judge him when he leaves the club’. The rest is history. Thank you, Chelsea, thank you, Mr. Abramovitch, thank you, Jose, thank you, Premier League, and all the players I shared the badge with,” Drogba tweeted.
Meanwhile, Mourinho recently revealed how he urged Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to sign Drogba back in 2004.
Mourinho told beIN Sports: “Drogba is the kind of guy who is so loyal that he never forgot that I took him from Marseille to the Premier League, where he was not even expected, because he didn’t start very young at that level. He had already played for Guingamp, Marseille, Le Mans, so when I took him to Chelsea, I remember clearly Abramovich was asking me, ‘Who? Who do you want as a striker?’
“With all the big names in Europe at that time, I said Drogba. ‘Who is he? Where’s he playing?’ [I said] ‘Mr Abramovich—pay. Pay, and don’t speak.'”