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Didier Drogba: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous?

Why is it that so many of our supporters insist on defending Drogba’s behaviour no matter what he does? Are they prepared to put up with any amount of embarrassment in the hope that he’ll stay? Which of course he won’t – then again maybe he will – then maybe he won’t, because after all, he’s about as decisive as a rabbit caught in headlights.

The latest episode in the World of Didier saw him almost coming to blows with Ballack over a free-kick against Man United, so indignant was he that he alone should take it. Essien summed up my feelings perfectly, pulling his shirt over his head whilst shaking it in sheer disbelief. But of course in true Drama Queen fashion, even after he’d got his own way that wasn’t to be the end of the matter. Having taken a decent enough free-kick to be fair, he bided his time until there was a break in play then strode over to Ballack in an attempt to swing his handbag again. Ballack dodged the handbag – or at least cocked a deaf ear – so the incensed Ivorian turned on the watching Steve Clarke in a shameful display of disrespect.

He’s always had a problem with Ballack anyway, having suggested (in the papers of course) that the German should’ve signed for Man United instead because Chelsea are ‘special’. And whatever bug he’d got up his arse over Ballack clearly remains firmly in place as he’d already fallen out with him again in the build up to the Arsenal game before this weekend’s tantrum. He just seems intent on causing as much disharmony as possible if the reports of mud-slinging at Makelele and Cech as well are to be believed.

The man really does have an ego the size of a house and the re-emergence of his aerodynamic affliction hasn’t helped endear him to me this season either. I swear the cast of platoon aren’t as dramatic as him and most of them have had several rounds pumped into them before they hit the floor. I’m not suggesting he’s never fouled, of course he is, but I fail to see how even the slightest trip sees him rival the Wright brothers’ maiden voyage in terms of dodgy flights. Even then, if he was genuinely injured (and the way he goes down it wouldn’t be that hard to believe he’d actually hurt himself) it’d be easier to accept his apparent agonised rolling halfway across the pitch. But he inevitably gets up and either limps a bit for effect, or with scene-one, act-two apparently in the can, proceeds to wallop the free-kick with the foot he’d broken two minutes earlier.

Of course I can’t write this piece without acknowledging what he brings to the Chelsea side (when he’s in the mood). He virtually carried us through last season and on his day he’s immense, running at and pretty much through defences, he can finish pretty well at times too. He’s got a great first touch, a free-kick that’d have most keepers’ hearts in their mouths and he’d be a welcome addition to most defences. But that’s the thing, he’s strong enough and talented enough not to need all the antics in his game and when he cut it out last season we saw him fulfil the potential he’s got. This year though, he’s been stroppy, disinterested and spent half his time tripping over his bottom lip, blades of grass, imaginary feet, the air, etc. So instead of the workhorse-like performances we’d got so used to seeing, the only consistent thing about him this season has been his ability to mouth off.

In fact, so often has he shared his deepest feelings with the press this season that he almost regards it as therapy. Yes ok, while I fully understand he wasn’t happy to see Mourinho go, neither were a lot of us and yet we’ve managed to get over it without such sizeable pay packets to ease the pain. Most of us have been a bit disgruntled over the whole management saga this season but it’s not made any better by having bitter players happier throwing their weight around in the press than they are on the pitch. And that’s not to say I expect undying loyalty from someone who by his own admission, didn’t want to sign for us in the first place and wanted to leave for most of his first two years at Chelsea anyway. But what I do want is a degree of respect for both the club and supporters who pay his over-inflated wages and whilst running towards the ‘eternally grateful’ crowd, grabbing at his shirt might be good enough for some, but for me, from Didier Drogba, it’s become an empty gesture.

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