Champions League - Reaction: Drogba lauds team-mates

Sat, 19 May 23:21:00 2012

Didier Drogba hailed his side's never-say-die attitude after helping Chelsea claim the Champions League for the first time in their history.

Chelsea's Didier Drogba celebrates with the trophy after their Champions League final soccer match against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in Munich - 0

The Blues beat Bayern Munich 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out after the final at the Allianz Arena had finished 1-1 after extra-time. Drogba struck the winning penalty having also headed home an 88th-minute equaliser to cancel out Thomas Muller's opener for Bayern five minutes previously.

"They never give up until the end," Drogba said of his team-mates. "This team is amazing."

The Ivory Coast international added of the victory: "It was written, I think, a long time ago. I want to dedicate this cup to all the managers we've had before, all the players I've played with before."

Drogba also hailed the performance of goalkeeper Petr Cech, who saved a penalty from Arjen Robben in extra-time and then also played a key part as Bayern missed twice in the shoot-out.

"When we have this guy in goal you have to believe," Drogba said.

Stand-in manager Roberto Di Matteo, who still does not know whether he will be retained next season, praised the heart of his players who have continually defied the odds.

"We have a group of players with a big heart...that was the only way we could achieve this trophy," the Italian said.

"Drogba has been incredible for this club. It's just been an incredible three months, intense and demanding for everybody."

Asked if Di Matteo should now get the full-time job, captain John Terry said: "Look at that trophy. We hope so. Robbie has been fantastic since he came in.

"It was a superb display from the whole squad. When our backs are against the wall we step up to the mark."

Cech echoed Terry's view of the former assistant coach.

"Whatever happens to him, he has got two fantastic cups. He has done enough to get the job but that is for the board to decide," said the Czech, pointing out Di Matteo also helped Chelsea beat Liverpool in the FA Cup final earlier this month.

Captain for the night Frank Lampard said Di Matteo had helped turn the club's flagging season around.

"It is not a question for this moment. He took us from a struggling team maybe going out of the Champions League and now we have won it, so just look at that," Lampard said.

The Londoners finished sixth in the Premier League, their worst placing for a decade, but the Champions League triumph ensured they would make next season's top European competition.

Media reports have linked Chelsea with former England manager Fabio Capello and neither Di Matteo and owner Roman Abramovich have spoken publicly about the future.

"I'm enjoying this moment. I won't talk about it now," former Chelsea midfielder Di Matteo said.

Chelsea's suspended captain Terry missed the club's penalty shootout victory but still described the win as the best moment of his career.

"This is an incredible feeling," Terry said. "I've waited eight or nine years for this moment and it wipes out all those bad memories from this competition. It's 100 per cent the top moment in my career.

"In the past we've been knocked out in the last minute, lost on penalties to Manchester United in the 2008 final and twice we lost to Liverpool in the semi-finals but this victory takes a big weight off everyone's shoulders..

"I can live with the fact I didn't play because we have won. That's all that matters to me because I care so much about this football club.

"It's probably harder watching. You know then what the fans go through and it's really frustrating," he added.

"But it's great to see us win the trophy I think we have deserved, to see the smile that was on owner Roman Abramovich's face after the game and to see the fans at the end.

"We've won the Champions League and the FA Cup this season so we we'll go down as the best ever team in Chelsea's history and that's incredible."

Terry thanked European ruling body UEFA for allowing him to join the team in the post-match celebrations and letting him lift the biggest trophy in European club football.

"To be involved was incredible," said the former Chelsea youth team product. "If I hadn't been involved it would have been very hard to take.

"Credit to UEFA for making the right decision to allow all four of our suspended players to be involved."

Even when Chelsea looked down and out earlier in the competition Terry said he had faith his team could land the Champions League trophy for the first time.

"You look back at the Napoli game in the first knockout round when we were 3-1 down from the first leg," he said. "Everyone wrote us off but I believed in us and within the squad we all believed in each other. It's great we've got so many big players for big occasions, players like Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech."

Lampard began to think there was no way back for Chelsea as the minutes ticked down with Bayern leading 1-0, but when the match went to a penalty shootout he had no doubts the trophy was coming to London.

"I admit when we were trailing 1-0 with about a minute left, I wasn't so sure," said Lampard.

"Once it went to penalties, I thought there was no way we were going to lose. I thought, we are going to win this."

But Lampard said the heartbreak of losing in the final four years ago to Manchester United on penalties spurred his team to victory.

"It wasn't going to be a repeat of Moscow, we couldn't have stood that again," he added.

"I really wasn't sure there was a way back and I was thinking well, perhaps it wasn't meant to be after all ... then Didier equalised with a minute to go and Petr (Cech) saved Arjen Robben's penalty in extra time and I thought, 'we are going to do this'.

"And when the penalties started I was sure."

The 33-year-old heaped praise on Drogba, whose contract is set to expire and could well have played his last match for the club.

"I have to say, Didier was the main man tonight, and he dug us out of a hole there.

"The man is a Chelsea legend, he is a hero, without him we're not here. He scores the goals in the big games."

Asked if this victory could mark the break-up of a side that have largely been together for most of the last decade, he said: "No, I don't see why it should.

"Teams are always changing, but why should we stop now? We want to carry on, move forwards. We've won the FA Cup and now the Champions League and the determination and spirit we have shown, it’s been fantastic."

ITW Cahill

News Champions League

Reuters / PA Sport

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  1. Chelsea should keep Drogba, he is an icon. If I will­ Drogba, please remain and stay at Chelsea and finish­ your carrier without moving elsewhere just like Eric­ Cantona -at MU and others.I prefer Drogba than John­ Terry. He is a lousy captain, Frank Lampard is better­ and suitable. Just look at the last 2 matches without­ Terry, they play better. If England have him on the­ field, is finish. He is black sheep in the family.­ Arjen is ex-chelsea player, I don't understand why­ he is so desperate want to kill Chelsea. Is so obvious.­ He has hatred in his heart, he is desperate to kill­ Real Madrid cause of Jose Morinho is a coach there.­ This is bad for sport. When you are in Chelsea you got­ your take home pay from the club, now he want to kill­ them, he is brainless.Therefore Chelsea deserve to win­ this match so that Arjen will have his nighmare after­ so many years. He is not pure, he has so many hatred­ and he will never be happy.

    From Linda Lim, on Mon 21 May 5:05
  2. Congratulations the Blues, You have made us proud by­­ making history. That was the spirit of GREAT fighterS.­­ Never say die, MAY THE BLUES LEAVE LONG AND HAVE MORE­ OF THIS MOMENT....... BIG THANKS TO ALL THE BLUE FANS,­ NEW MEMBERS ARE ALSO WELCOME *OFOE*

    From Ofoe, on Mon 21 May 2:05
  3. funny when poeple criticise a team for defending well­ or whatever. defending is an equal part of football as­ attacking! yes bayern were the better side for a lot of­ the game but not because they attacked more, because­ they kept and used the ball better. when chelsea did­ attack bayern looked very poor and defended nowhere­ near as well as us. thats us now finally won the­ champions league and that whole having never won it­ thing is gone for good! were now part of europe's­ elite and that cant be changed. These players deserved­ it and im sure that bayern team will be about the final­ again at some point

    From Champions Of Europe, on Sun 20 May 17:18
  4. Man Utd fan here. I found myself supporting Chelsea­ last night? I like Di Matteo a lot, this might be the­ reason why. Well done Chelsea. Congrats! No jealousy­ here only my heart broke when Man city scored the two­ late goals. Hope my team will do better next year. ­ See you again in the champions league. And by the­ way, Drogba, what a player! Keep him and Di Matteo.

    From Mercury devil, on Sun 20 May 16:32
  5. Who rights this garbage and which game were they­ watching. Cech saved 3 pens out of 6, the best tipping­ swinestargers onto the post, please get it right

    From Richard Ellis, on Sun 20 May 16:30
  6. BRAVO CHELSEA! at long last the crown is Chelsea's.­ to say bayern played better is mere fluke. football is­ a game of attack and defend. all 'cause bayern­ attacked doesn't mean chelsea didn't do better.­ bayern attacked very well and chelsea defended well.­ which way do u go. if can't defend u can't win.­ they did it to barcelona and now bayern. uneasy lies­ the head that wears the crown. which is the best now?­ barcelona, bayern, real madrid or chelsea. of course­ chelsea. never say die, guys, until the bones are­ rotten. once more BRAVO CHELSEA!

    From kosoko, on Sun 20 May 16:12
  7. '99 Champions league: beating the Germans with 2­ goals in injury time, '02 World cup: beating­ Germany in Germany 5-1, '12 Champions league:­ beating the Germans on penalties ...

    From , on Sun 20 May 15:55
  8. Congratulations the Blues. You have made us proud by­ making history. That was the spirit of the fighter.­ Never say die and it is never over until it is over.­ God bless you as we prepare for the next season

    From Peters, on Sun 20 May 15:39
  9. i love how one person has obviously gone through the­ pro-chelsea comments and disliked them. sad man/woman

    From Ciaran, on Sun 20 May 15:03
  10. About time the English beat the Germans at penalties

    From Baz, on Sun 20 May 14:38
  11. Man united fan here= well done chelsea Its kind of­ ironic a manager who had never been considered wins ­ the European cup, with a team all the so called experts­ said had no chance, so you what team spirit can do. ­ They say Bayen were the better team caus they attacked­ more, well you defended just as well, and surely that­ is also part of the game =defence.

    From Keith, on Sun 20 May 11:55
  12. Congratulations to chelsea players on the night.yes­ some players stood out from others but collectively­ they wanted to win so bad.huge respect and­ congratulations to roberto di matteo for coming back to­ the club he played for and winning the champions league­ as a manager.Great stuff

    From Jeffrey, on Sun 20 May 11:10
  13. Chelsea should be grateful to Drogba, he should be­ given 2yrs contract that he wants. Mikel Obi very good­ too. Chelsea deserve to win Champions League

    From Tunji, on Sun 20 May 11:02
  14. As a LUFC supporter and one of football in general well­ done Chelsea and thanks for doing the dirty on Bayern­ as they did too us in Paris all those years ago. MOT

    From Tony, on Sun 20 May 10:56
  15. Drogba is right, sure he played his part- but the real­ star was Cech last night albeit I think Robben is going­ to have to do some soal searching, it was a real team­ effort, and De Matteo has brought out the best in­ Torres-I haven't seen him run and chase down much­ since he left Anfield. Great final right to the very­ end!

    From Peter, on Sun 20 May 10:50
  16. That corner was won by torres the goal would have never­ happened if it wasnt for torres didnt get the corner

    From Thomas Cowan, on Sun 20 May 10:45
  17. I said right here after Chelsea beat Napoli that they­ would take the champions league

    From Ikara, on Sun 20 May 10:40
  18. It does make me chuckle to see post match comments­ posted by supporters of clubs that have won nothing­ talking of the game not being won with style, all out­ attacking football and the winners having done so by­ defending in depth etc. etc. All are hypocrites and are­ ignorant of the game. I as a MUFC supporter would take­ a Champions League Final victory if they had not left­ their own half apart from once to score and defended­ with everyone back - not that I think its a valid­ critiscism of Chelsea for one minute. Go ask the­ supporters of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich­ if they would prefer to have played on the back foot­ and won or attacked all night and lost... Chelsea won­ the Champions League and the rest of our teams lost­ simples. So once again congratulations to Chelsea the­ European Champions, now i must go and weep into by­ cereal with jealousy

    From Seanchai, on Sun 20 May 10:28
  19. David @46 Agree 100%. Chelsea fans should make HUGE­ banner with Didier Drogba! Also Ashley Cole and­ Lampard showed they are both great players. Lampad­ played with his head up all game, world class.

    From Luke, on Sun 20 May 10:20
  20. i wasnt saying he was right or wrong what i was saying­ is he was patronising but he WAS wrong on the bayern­ goal, no way was it terrible goalkeeping, those kind of­ ground first headers are difficult to save.....and as­ for not being able to string passes together or­ whatever it was he said, did he not realise we had to­ key midfielders missing??? he was nit picking for the­ sake of it then claiming the club doesnt appreciate di­ matteos efforts.....let me tell you this EVERYONE at­ chelsea, fans and supporters appreciate that mans­ efforts, whether abramovic does is another matter but­ he doesnt know what abramovic is thinking so he cant­ tell if he appreciates his efforts or not

    From Stephen, on Sun 20 May 10:11
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