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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 16, 2006

Drogba aims to end playing career at Chelsea

In-form Didier Drogba wants to remain at Chelsea for the rest of his career.

The Ivory Coast striker, who recently signed a new four-year contract at Stamford Bridge, admits he came close to leaving the club in the summer but now wants to stay for as long as possible.

Drogba has scored 14 goals for Chelsea so far this season - including two hat-tricks - and was on target for his country in their 1-0 win over Sweden on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old is desperate to reward the faith of coach Jose Mourinho by helping Chelsea to glory on four fronts this season - the Premiership, Champions League, FA and Carling Cups.

Drogba declared: 'At 28, I am definitely thinking of ending my career in Chelsea - if that's what the fans want to hear. But I will play the game until I can no longer push myself.

'At one time I did think about leaving the club because of many reasons. But I think I've come to stay in England and I hope that will end all the confusion of the past.

'As a professional, I've always put my own needs and goals above anything else. But I decided to stay at Chelsea because of the encouragement I've received from our manager.

'Besides, the friends I have here have been so supportive. The fans are awesome, every player wants to play in a place where he is fully accepted and I've found that here at Chelsea.'

Drogba's goalscoring form has been a revelation this season but the striker has already set his sights on breaking more records with Chelsea - including winning all four trophies.

Drogba added: 'After signing the new contract I told myself this is the time to work hard.

'Then I can hopefully bring even more glory to the club and honour to myself. I regard the new contract with Chelsea as reward for hard work - but I also want to repay the club for keeping the faith.

'We want to win all four trophies this season and we believe we have the ability to do it.

'Of course, at the moment we are taking things as they come and that is working for us. But we've dominated English football for the last few years and now we want to set new records.'

But while Drogba believes they can win all four competitions, midfielder Michael Essien is not so sure.

The Ghana international insists they may have trouble retaining the title for a third season.

Chelsea are currently three points adrift of Manchester United at the top of the table and Essien is aware of the growing challenge of a revitalised Arsenal as well.

Essien said: 'Arsenal have joined the race now and we still have a long way to go.

'We must keep going the way we are. We will see how it goes, but it's not going to be easy this season.

'We have to get our points and stay close to leaders Manchester United, who are our main rivals.

'We have to keep going, get our points and see what happens at the end of the season.'