TEAMtalk guest Rich Kitto offers his latest Thursday thoughts, debating whether striker Didier Drogba can be described as a Chelsea legend.
'Time is money'. Benjamin Franklin, founding father.
As Didier Drogba, the man that bleeds blue, prepares to cut ties with Chelsea and begin a new life in China, can he truly be seen as a hero or someone purely in it for the green?
Much has been said and written of the powerful Ivorian striker in recent days following his contribution to the back end of Chelsea's season, and rightly so considering the huge impact he made on Saturday's Champions League final. That bullet header in the dying embers of a game that dragged Chelsea back into the contest and then the coolly-slotted winning penalty will forever be remember by fans of the club as one that finally gave them standing amongst Europe's elite, and presented their owner Mr Abramovich with his most coveted of prizes.
Similarly, it should not be forgotten that Drogba was also the man that bequeathed his team the FA Cup after his goal turned out to be the decider against Liverpool. In the last couple of months he has excelled for his team and given them great riches, but the hyperboles that the man will always remain a 'hero and a legend' for Chelsea are far off the mark.
He has been a great servant for the club no doubt, and has brought them much silverware along the way - three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and now finally the Champions League. He has scored nine goals in finals and is Chelsea's fourth all-time leading scorer.
He's an exceptional player, and one of the greatest foreign imports ever to play in the Premier League. But turning down an offer of a one-year contract extension to simply chase more money out in China can be seen as nothing other than pure greed, and is not the act of a genuine legend.
Back in November this is what Drogba's agent, Thierno Seydi, had to say: "Didier has had the offer of a one-year extension from Chelsea. That does not suit us. He will go where he is offered the most money. It could be the United States, Russia, Qatar or somewhere else in Asia."
Drogba has today since spoken out, saying that money is not the motivating factor, and describing that he seeks 'a new challenge'. That is likely to be in the form of Shanghai Shenua after owner Zhu Jun described negotiations 'are going as planned'. The notion of a fresh test is completely understandable, as the Ivorian has won everything he possibly can with Chelsea, so a move to France, Spain or Italy - where he was heavily linked with Milan - would all be acceptable. After all, he still retains the talent to compete and win on the biggest stage. Moving to a team that currently lie 14th in the Chinese Super League, and managed by his former strike partner Nicolas Anelka, will certainly be challenging if he has ambitions of winning the league, but you can't help but feel the only strain will be on his wallet.
There are two schools of thought here - firstly, he can do what he likes, he'd only be sitting on the bench where he is, and fair play to the man for squeezing out everything he can get. On the other side, he already has enough money to ensure an extremely comfortable existence for him and his family, and seeing out the remaining years of his career at Chelsea would ensure and demand guaranteed legendary status.
Perhaps opinion shouldn't be so harsh on Drogba, after all this is the current trend of modern-day footballers. Beckham, Henry, Eto'o, Carlos and the aforementioned Anelka have all done the same thing and reaped the financial benefits. But it seems such a shame. Frank Lampard has said he intends to retire at the club, and will justifiably be seen as one of the greats when he hangs up his boots. Similarly, whether you love or loathe him, John Terry will be considered much the same when he calls it a day.
Looking further afield, Pippo Inzaghi has just left Milan, hinting that he may retire as a result. Alessandro Del Piero may do the same after being released by the Old Lady after 19 seasons of service, including when they were relegated to Serie B. Regardless of where they came from, these are names that will forever be associated to a single club.
What is unquestionable is Drogba's services off the field where he is a genuine legend, and merits such huge recognition for his services to his country and Africa. He is seen as a great man and a great leader of men, an inspiration to those around him, and a wonderfully-talented footballer to boot. He will always be remembered by Chelsea supporters as the man that led them to glory on the biggest stages.
Undeniably he is a hero off the field, but whether he is on it is still open for debate.