Now confined to the history books at Stamford Bridge, Didier Drogba has departed from the club that he emblazoned his unforgettable mark on. The spearhead of the old guard along with Frank Lampard and John Terry; to see Drogba take flight and let emotion triumph when he slotted home that penalty last month, was one of the enduring moments in recent football history. It was a moment that was 9 years in the making for the Ivorian. However, when Drogba carefully placed that ball down on a penalty spot, the weight of the world on his shoulders, in a stadium that was willing him to miss, he coolly converted and not only inscribed his name into Chelsea folklore but changed the course of the clubs future and metaphorically passed the torch to the new era that could possibly dominate as successfully as their predecessors.
With European success comes obligatory expectation, especially for a club as financially sound as Chelsea. With a permanent manager in place, the usually unavoidable speculation of managerial vacancy at Stamford Bridge is now a distant memory and focus can now be solely toward investing in new talent on the pitch, talent that will announce itself available in abundance, desiring to play for the European Champions. Eden Hazard dismissing both Manchester clubs in favour of a move to Chelsea indicates this perfectly.
The ramifications that would have occurred if Didier Drogba had missed that penalty and Chelsea subsequently lost the final would have been enormous;
Firstly, it may have cited a reason for Drogba to stay at the club, meaning another season with the veterans may have been on the cards. Although this may have been fruitful to a certain extent, the fact that Chelsea can now look toward the future without Drogba and enjoy the past with him gives Di Matteo the ability to rebuild and start fresh. Fernando Torres may have also been left frustrated should Drogba have missed the penalty and ultimately stayed with the club for another year or two. The Ivorian’s form was insatiable toward the end of last season, leaving Torres is relative limbo. Now, with a Drogba shaped hole in the frontline at Stamford Bridge, El Nino may be able to announce himself as Chelsea’s first choice striker and the form that he has exposed in glimpses at the European Championships recently, could become a regular occurrence in the Premier League once again.
Secondly, it would have probably spelled the end for Roberto Di Matteo and Chelsea would currently be in a position that they are so frustratingly used to; managerial speculation. You only have to look a short distance away from Stamford Bridge to see the ambiguity and speculation that is surrounding Tottenham and their current pursuit of a new leader to see that the rather tranquil Chelsea camp is a derivative of the swiftness in which Di Matteo was appointed and the success that he has achieved thus far.
With rumours abound of star players making their way to Chelsea, ready to assist the new era in making itself heard around the continent, Blues fans can look to the future with optimism. The day when the last of the old guard will hang up their boots is relatively imminent, so to start the transition period now, after such a pleasing conclusion to the season, can only be an encouraging move. With Roman Abramovich once again ready to spend big in order to apply relative symmetry this campaign to the success of last season, these are exciting times at Chelsea and Didier Drogba may have unknowingly contributed to the future of his beloved club with that single, solitary swift kick of his right foot that finally rewarded Chelsea with the trophy that they so desperately desired.
Never has a penalty mattered so much for Chelsea football club and it has arguably changed the Blues future for the better.
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