Paris:Chelsea's Didier Drogba says he entered this season having lost his passion for football.
"For several weeks this summer, I no longer had a head for football. I had completely lost the fire. I no longer wanted to hear talk of targets or ambition," the Ivory Coast striker said in an interview with France Football magazine published Tuesday. "I had absolutely no excitement or adrenaline. I felt completely extinguished. For the first time in my career, I had lost the passion for football. I was lost."
Drogba, who joined Chelsea from Marseille in 2004, told the magazine that he was profoundly shaken by the death of his grandmother in June.
"I felt as if all of my childhood memories were flying away. I felt I had aged brutally," the 30-year-old Drogba said. "For a long time, I put football on hold. After my injury, I really wasn't in a hurry to return, nor very motivated."
Drogba missed the start of a season with a knee injury, and was then given a three-game ban for throwing a coin back at fans who jeered him after scoring a goal. Despite the setbacks, Drogba said "this break was good for me. I now feel very strong, with a huge appetite."
He also said he understood why Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari is leaving him more on the bench this season in favor of Nicolas Anelka, currently the Premier League's top scorer.
"For the moment, I can only keep quiet," France Football quoted Drogba as saying. "It is not because I have been here for more than four years that I have a right to make demands to be in the starting lineup. At the moment, there's a guy at the front who is hot and racking up goals. I must wait my turn."
But he suggested that Scolari pair him with Anelka more often in attack.
"I have always said that I was happy that Nicolas came to Chelsea. But I still cannot understand why managers are afraid to put us together," Drogba said. "He and I are waiting for just one thing _ to be able to play together. But really together - not one in the center and the other on the left wing."