Didier Drogba marked his early substitute outing in Tuesday's 6-0 win over Maribor with the first goal of his second Blues spell, but it was an otherwise underwhelming display from the veteran.
Didier Drogba netted his first goal since rejoining Chelsea on Tuesday night, as Jose Mourinho’s side recorded their biggest-ever Champions League win with an emphatic 6-0 victory at home to Group G rivals Maribor.
The veteran striker started the match on the bench but was called into action early when fellow summer signing Loic Remy was forced off with an injury moments after scoring the opener in the 13th-minute.
It didn’t take Drogba long to then open his account, when midfielder Ales Mertelj handled Willian's pass inside the Maribor area on 23 minutes to give the home side a spot-kick.
While Eden Hazard remains Chelsea's regular penalty taker, the Belgian international willingly stepped aside on this occasion to allow his teammate to thump in the second – his first significant contribution to the club since the shoot-out-winner in the 2012 final.
Drogba was understandably grateful for Hazard’s selflessness after the final whistle, telling ITV: ‘I wanted to score that goal so I asked him and he said yes.
‘This is the spirit we have in this team. We share goals and are happy when everyone is scoring. I think they are also happy for my confidence.
‘To finish with a penalty and start again with another penalty is nice.’
Outside of his lone goal, however, it was a relatively quiet night for Drogba, who has shown a fair amount of rust in his eight total appearances since returning to west London in July after a two-year absence.
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Aged 36, it’s clear that he’s no longer the dominant force who once terrorised Premier League defenders, while scoring 110 times in 226 top-flight games over eight seasons, but the club’s current injury issues up front could deem his inclusion necessary for the weekend’s trip to Manchester United.
With Remy’s groin problem likely ruling him out, the Blues will remain hopeful that star man Diego Costa can somehow return in time for Sunday, but they could even opt to deploy Cesc Fabregas in the “false nine” role, which Andre Schurrle filled last season at Old Trafford, over Drogba.
Either way, it’s clear that the former £24 million man needs to show more than what was on display against Tuesday’s relatively underwhelming Slovenian opponents, but whether he still has anything left in the tank at this stage of his career remains to be seen.