FOOTBALL : UEFA president Michel Platini believes Chelsea striker Didier Drogba will return to European football “better and stronger” following his three-match ban.
UEFA president Michel Platini believes Chelsea striker Didier Drogba will return to European football “better and stronger” following his three-match ban.
Drogba is expected to return to line up against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night following his suspension for verbally abusing Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo at the end of their semi-final defeat at the hands of Barcelona last season.
Platini has watched Drogba’s foul-mouthed antics on video since and said: “Drogba’s a good guy. I know him very well. He understands now that he made a mistake. Everybody does. He will come back better, stronger.”
He added: “What I saw on TV was the comportment of Didier. All the TV showed the insult of Drogba, not the decisions.
“I was like Drogba in the past when I saw an injustice as a player. But I don’t know Drogba’s mind.
“He took the decision that he felt was right for him. He was alone in thinking that.”
Platini also stressed he is not involved in the process of refereeing appointments and claims he still does not know Ovrebo’s identity.
“When I arrive at a stadium, I don’t know the name of the referee,” said Platini. “That’s the decision of the independent committee of referees. I was not there at Chelsea. I didn’t know the name of the referee and I still don’t.
“I don’t know whether the referee made a mistake or not. If it was a mistake, I will say ‘it’s not a mistake’ because I have to defend the referees.”