By Tom Maston
The Real Madrid boss admitted his attachment to the Galatasaray forward goes beyond their time at Chelsea, and has urged his side to score goals on Wednesday
The 50-year-old coached the Cote d’Ivoire striker during his time at Chelsea, and admitted they forged a friendship which supercedes their professional connection.
“Dider Drogba was a great player for me, a great friend and someone that will stay in my life forever. We created emotional links that go further than football,” he told reporters at a press conference.
“[Wesley] Sneijder and Drogba have been important players for me in the past but tomorrow they will be my friends, not the players in my team.”
Mourinho went on to praise Drogba’s current coach at Galatasaray, Fatih Terim, and warned of the qualities of the Super Lig champions’ star attacking trio.
“We have our objectives for tomorrow but so do they. I want to win. Our opponents want to win,” he continued.
“They have a great coach with experience of games at this level and so [he] feels comfortable. He is not afraid of playing here. He has players who have played in the best teams in the world, players who are calm when it comes to playing in the quarter-finals of this competition.
“Drogba, Sneijder and Burak [Yilmaz] could play for any team in the world.”
The former Inter boss has called on his side to ensure they score goals in their first-leg clash at Santiago Bernabeu, but insists he will be satisfied with his players’ performance as long as they give their all in the match.
“It is important that we score the goals to win this game and who does that is not important to me,” he added.
“When you have great players you always expect big things from them. If you look at the [Manchester] United game, [Gonzalo] Higuain did not score but he played a great game. This is what is important for me, that the players in general do well for the team.”