No Chelsea fan (or Barcelona fan) can ever forget the 2009 Champions League semi-final and how the second leg ended at the Stamford Bridge panned out. The London club had all but ensured an all-Premier League final with the clock winding down, thanks to an early goal from Michael Essien. But, after a series of penalty decisions were overruled for the home side, Andres Iniesta had scored a late goal that sent Barcelona into the final
Watching on from the sidelines was Didier Drogba after being substituted. The forward was arguably the most incensed Chelsea player after the full time and he made his feelings clear.
“Drogba marched on to the field to subject referee Ovrebo to a prolonged verbal tirade,” reads the BBC report of the match. “It was an unpalatable conclusion to a dramatic encounter in which Chelsea had four appeals for penalties ignored, the strongest being a clear handball by Gerard Pique after the break. He rightly received a yellow card but Drogba refused to be deterred by this punishment and continued to pursue the official while being held back.”
Now, 10 years after that incident, Drogba was at the Ballon D’or event in Paris on Monday. As the co-host of the event, the Ivory Coast legend had a chance to remember that night and a promise he had made pre-match to a French kid that he will take a photograph.
“10 years ago after Chelsea vs Barcelona, a child came to me and wanted to take a picture,” Drogba said on stage. “That day I said no because of the disgraceful refereeing decisions. I learned that the child was Kylian Mbappé. I want to pay my debt now.”
It was Mbappe who was voted as the sixth-best male player of the year and Drogba gave him the photograph that was promised in front of the footballing elite that had gathered.
Men’s Ballon d’Or - the top 10
1. Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona)
2. Virgil van Dijk (NED/Liverpool)
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus)
4. Sadio Mane (SEN/Liverpool)
5. Mohamed Salah (EGY/Liverpool)
6. Kylian Mbappe (FRA/PSG)
7. Alisson Becker (BRA/Liverpool)
8. Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich)
9. Bernardo Silva (POR/Manchester City)
10. Riyad Mahrez (ALG/Manchester City)