Last season Didier Drogba played the starring role in one of the greatest Champions League stories of recent times. The Ivorian striker played a pivotal part in Chelsea’s shock win in the competition under the guise of Roberto Di Matteo. Drogba himself proved the catalyst in the final; scoring the equalising header and decisive penalty to finish a fairy-tale campaign. That was to be the last time he scored a goal in a Chelsea shirt.
But he is hoping to re-enact those heroics with his new club Galatasaray this season:
"I'm coming to Galatasaray to win the Champions League. Galatasaray are a great club. Not only in Turkey, but in Europe too. This season, they've reached the last 16 of the Champions League. I want to win this trophy for a second time in the Galatasaray jersey, and I believe that we can do it. He [Emmanuel Eboue] told me he thought that Galatasaray had become a much bigger club. I know that I've come to a club with big targets and proud fans. I can't wait to wear their shirt."
So did Drogba get a bump on the head in South frica or have Gala really got a chance?
The Turkish side have not only brought in the Ivorian this January but also the Dutch superstar Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan. With these two players in your side it is hard to be discounted and with Schalke 04 losing one of their star players in Lewis Holtby there is every chance they could sneak past the Germans into the quarter-finals.
It is easy to laugh off the credentials of a Turkish outfit but it is not just their foreign stars such as the new boys and Felipe Melo, Fernando Muslera and Tomas Ujfalusi who are of the standard necessary to cause a shock. Turkish internationals Semih Kaya and Burak Yilmaz are not to be sniffed at. The latter has scored six goals in the Group Stage and that makes him the joint top-scorer along with Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League.
Many teams have been discounted in the past; look at Porto, Liverpool or further back the likes of Red Star Belgrade and Steaua Bucharest. Last season many gave Chelsea no chance and we all know what happened there.
So if Drogba says Galatasaray can win the Champions League you might not want to rule them out of contention just yet.
image: © tekinim