Drogba shows mature side in Blues romp

Moody, broody, temperamental, difficult, highly-strung, over pampered are all words you’d associate with the following: The missus, your boss and center-forwards.

I suppose everything comes with a price, especially when you’re talking about the most important commodity in football, namely goals.

The best strikers in football are those that have a selfish streak in them. They wear blinkers when it comes to attacking an opponent’s goal. They sulk endlessly if they don’t score and woe betide you take a chance that was set up for them.

As for penalties, they’re not even up for discussion.

If you were to think of such a player in the Premiership, one name immediately springs to my mind – Chelsea’s Didier Drogba.

The thirty-two-year-old Ivorian is now entering his seventh season in the Premiership. In that time, he’s done all right by himself, winning three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cups. What he hasn’t done is win many friends outside of Stamford Bridge.

After all, isn’t this the man who infamously said, "sometimes I dive, sometimes I stand" in a post-match conference during the 2005-06 season. A man of integrity. Right.

Even going back to last season, I can’t help but recall his attitude. The final match of the campaign and a ‘must win’ game for the Blues against Wigan. Anything less than three points and the title would go to Manchester United. However, Drogba is in a neck-and-neck race with Wayne Rooney (they are tied on 26) for the prized Golden Boot.

Chelsea is already leading the contest by a goal when in the 32nd minute they win a penalty. Drogba wants to take it but Frank Lampard, the regular spot-kick expert, has the ball. The title is on the line but the Ivorian is only thinking of himself and proceeds to mope around Stamford Bridge for the remainder of the half despite Lampard’s successful conversion.

His smile only returned in the second period as he blitzed a 17-minute hat trick, which included a penalty, on his way to winning the scoring crown.

After watching Drogba on Saturday afternoon at the DW Stadium against those very same Latics, I can’t help but feel that maybe he has become a changed man.

Never have I seen him so unselfish. Twice when it seemed odds-on that he would score himself, he looked for a teammate. Firstly he found Nicolas Anelka with a spectacular knock back when he could’ve headed home. Then his countrymen, Salomon Kalou benefited from a beautifully weighted pass when all Drogba had to do was dink a finish over the advancing Chris Kirkland.

He completed a hat-trick of assists with a sublime cross to Kalou after letting the ball run through his legs in the simplest of step-overs. Not bad for a man, who in the last three months, has broken his arm and undergone a groin operation.

I’m no armchair psychologist but footballers mature at different rates. For instance Joey Barton will still be 18 even when he’s 65. Cesc Fabregas was 35 before he was 17.

Drogba is at a time where he has found that perfect balance and it is reflected in his football.

Three young kids, a steady marriage that mixes the Muslim world with Catholicism and a foundation that is more than just a name.

The Didier Drogba Foundation is in the process of building a hospital for the people of Abidjan back in his home country of the Ivory Coast (throw down a couple of bucks if you have some to spare).

Drogba was classed as a late bloomer earlier in his career at first Le Mans and then Guingamp but the old adage of a fine wine getting better with age is perfect for him right about now.

Cast your minds back to Saturday and the ninety minutes of carnage Chelsea inflicted on Wigan. Have you ever seen a striker in a six-nothing romp look as happy and content as this guy?

Strikers live for hitting the ball in the back of the net Right now, Drogba is living for football.

Come the end of the campaign, I wouldn’t bet against him leading the league in his chosen currency, goals, and in one that has in the past been foreign to him, assists.

Moody, broody, temperamental, difficult, highly-strung and over pampered are all words you’d associate with the missus, your boss and every center-forward, bar Didier Drogba.