Didier Drogba backs successor Torres

Didier Drogba has backed Fernando Torres to lead the Chelsea attack next season, after confirming that he will be leaving the west London club.

The Ivory Coast international scored the equaliser in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich last Saturday, before slotting home the winning penalty in the shoot-out to see Roberto Di Matteo’s men as European champions.

However, with his contract expiring Drogba has confirmed he will be leaving Stamford Bridge, but feels Torres will be a worthy successor.

“It’s been difficult for him, but he has showed he is the man,” Drogba told reporters, published by Sky Sports.

“Next season is going to be his season and I will try to speak to him. We have a good relationship. We don’t understand why we didn’t play together more, but that’s the past. Torres is the future.”

The African marksman went on to admit that he is happy to have won everything there is to win with Chelsea and will leave on a high.

“I think winning the game was the key. Not me scoring the penalty. Winning the game was the turning point, that’s why I have decided to say goodbye.

“We made the story together and I want people to remember that. This is the best time to move on.

“Yes, there’s a chance that if the result was different, maybe I would be here.

“We were talking for many weeks, but the turning point was based on the fact I won everything I could and scored in most of the finals we have played, trying to make a difference. I hope everyone will understand. Everything I did was for the fans and I hope they understand,” he concluded.

Drogba is expected to move to big-spending Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, but as yet this has not been confirmed.

By Gareth McKnight