Ivorian legend Didier Drogba, who hung up his boots in November, declared on Friday that he regretted not making a return to Ligue 1 Conforama giants Olympique de Marseille before the end of his career.
After making his professional debut with Le Mans, Côte d'Ivoire and Chelsea legend Didier Drogba rocketed to international recognition in one stellar season with Olympique de Marseille (2003-04). Now that his storied playing career is behind him, the 40-year-old has told Le Figaro that he had always intended to return to Ligue 1 Conforama club that was his springboard to international success.
"Every time I've spoken about it, it has been controversial," said Drogba - now an ambassador for Chelsea, where he spent eight successful seasons - about his wish to return to the Stade Vélodrome during his career. "But the most important thing is that I wanted to return. It didn't come together and that's a regret I have."
Drogba also spoke to the French daily about his breakthrough season at Marseille, which saw him score 19 league goals, win the UNFP Trophy for Player of the Season and help the club to make it all the way to the UEFA Cup final, which they lost 2-0 to Valencia.
"Now, when I think back on that season with OM, frankly [his face lights up]... I was saying to a friend, 'Thank God I played for OM'," said the man whose jersey from that season sits framed in the basilica of Marseille at Notre-Dame de la Garde. "I've been an OM fan since I was a little kid. As a supporter, I was lucky enough to wear the shirt for one year and it was exceptional. It was really amazing."