Didier Drogba believes that Chelsea’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester United in the Champions League final of 2008 will only strengthen their approach in tomorrow’s showdown against Bayern Munich, particularly as the striker reminisces about his own fate that night.
Frustration got the better of Drogba on a rainy Moscow night when he slapped United defender Nemanja Vidic in the face during a confrontation that took place moments after his header hit the post in the late stages of the match.
The Blues had to make do without one of their best kickers in the penalties and an eventual miss from substitute Nicolas Anelka condemned them to perhaps the most bitter loss in their history.
Drogba is aware that he cannot afford any such lapses tomorrow evening as Chelsea make their second Champions League final appearance with high hopes of winning European football’s most elite club competition for the first time ever.
“It was a difficult moment for me but for the club as well, and I apologised to the fans. Since then, we have played a lot of games and won a lot of cups and we won the league, and now it is one memory I cannot forget but at the same time it is the past,” Drogba told Chelsea’s official website.
He added: “Now I look only at this game and I am very happy again to be in the Champions League Final. Moscow for Chelsea was an experience and we have learned from there.”
Asked how his approach has changed in regards to maintaining composure during such huge matches, Drogba simply stated that he has learned to keep matters in their proper perspective.
“I am lucky to be playing Champions League games. When I was young I used to watch the games on TV, all these finals, Zinedine Zidane scoring his volley against Leverkusen, and every Champions League game for me is special,” the 34-year old explained.
“I feel lucky every time I come on the pitch because I am one of the few players in Europe who can play these kind of games, and the Champions League doesn’t owe me something.
“I am just happy because we are again in a Champions League Final and it is fantastic because we deserve to be here. Nobody really expected it at the start of the season but I think we did everything to reach the final and now we are going to give everything to win it,” he concluded.