Didier Drogba's emotional return to Chelsea on Tuesday night ended in failure for the Galatasaray striker—but he certainly received a warm reaction from the Stamford Bridge crowd, to give him some comfort to take back to Turkey.
Chelsea's adulation of the striker almost seemed to convince him that he was not meant to return to his former home and haunt the side with which—as described by the PA announcer last night—he was the man who won everything.
A boot presentation, programme interviews and an almost inhumane amount of love from the crowd were perhaps all merited. Drogba was a great servant for the club—and will be forever remembered as the man who kicked Chelsea to the Champions League.
However, any talk of a return for Drogba in a playing capacity should be scrubbed out immediately. They often say never go back—and whoever "they" are appear to be completely on the money in this instance. The circumstances surrounding it all are ridiculous—and it appears to be a move born out of love for Drogba, rather than appreciation of his talent.
Didier Drogba's shots last night against Chelsea. Still got it. pic.twitter.com/qZfI43jUkZ— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) March 19, 2014
First and foremost, the performance of Drogba on Tuesday night is enough of a reason for Jose Mourinho to immediately cross the name of the Ivory Coast man off his transfer wishlist. If there was ever a danger of Drogba coming back to knock Chelsea out of the Champions League, it was quickly eroded as the game kicked off.
Largely anonymous throughout, the statistics back up the disappointment Drogba provided Galatasaray fans. Via WhoScored.com, Drogba's match rating comes in at 5.97. That is generous. Only 41 touches throughout and very little involvement on the game. Admittedly, that was not aided by a dismal performance from the rest of Roberto Mancini's side, but Drogba just could not get into the game.
He looked to have almost lost that ability to influence a game on his own, something you could rely on him for in the big games at Chelsea.
Of course, he is 36 years of age now. Surely Jose Mourinho is not going to consider bringing back a 36-year-old striker to solve his woes upfront? When you have an heir apparent in Romelu Lukaku ready to return to Stamford Bridge later this year, it seems ridiculous that Mourinho would even consider the move.
Plus, Drogba's African compatriot—Samuel Eto'o—seems to be slowly settling into a groove for the Blues. He is morphing into a striker who is becoming more reliable by the week, and whilst he will not be the long-term answer for Chelsea, he looks a better fit for Mourinho's system than Drogba does.
Many Chelsea fans would love to see Drogba back in the famous blue shirt at the end of this season. It would certainly be footballing romance at its finest. However, for the sake of common sense—and success—Chelsea have to avoid it at all costs.