Mourinho recalls Chelsea’s move for Drogba: "I told Abramovich: pay – and don’t speak’"
The Ivory Coast international arrived at Stamford Bridge from Marseille in 2004 for £24 million and went on to become the club’s highest-scoring foreign player of all time.
In an interview with beIN Sports, Mourinho recalled his efforts to sign a striker he now regards as an English football icon.
“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,” said the Portuguese.
“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.'
“And Didier was an iconic player for Chelsea, for the Premier League.
“He was fantastic also for Galatasaray, then when he came back to Chelsea and I told him: ‘You’re not No.1 anymore, but I need you here to help me with the team, with the more experienced players, with the Hazards, Willians, the young guys.'
“He was phenomenal again. There are players with their character and their personality, who are important from day one until the last day in their career.”