The Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari today rubbished renewed speculation that Didier Drogba was headed for the exit after the want-away striker pulled out of a preseason tour with a knee injury. The newly installed coach insisted Drogba was "very happy" with Chelsea after a virtually full-strength squad touched down in China without the Ivory Coast star. "Didier's future with Chelsea is normal because he has a contract with us," he said. "I think he's very happy with Chelsea. I hope when we come back he'll be in good condition."
Scolari said Drogba would need up to four weeks' rehabilitation on a long-standing knee problem, ruling him out of the tour, which also takes in Macau, Malaysia and Russia. The London side have brought new signings Deco and Jose Boswinga, as well as the England midfielder Frank Lampard who is being actively courted by Inter Milan. "Didier is injured. The doctor and our medical staff made a plan to have him training and playing in maybe three or four weeks," Scolari said. "But at this moment it's impossible for Didier to come with us."
The former Portugal and Brazil boss earlier insisted Drogba, who has been linked with Barcelona, Inter Milan and AC Milan, was "200 per cent" in his plans. Drogba's agent said last week that the striker would decide his future within days. Marseille fans are clubbing together to bring the striker, 30, back to the club, gathering more than two million euros (Dh11m) as of last week. *AFP