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'I had lost passion for the game'

December 31, 2008 16:26 IST

Chelsea's Didier Drogba said he lost his passion for football last summer after the death of his grandmother.

The 30-year-old Ivory Coast striker has lost his place to Nicolas Anelka in Chelsea's starting line-up after a difficult year, marred by injuries and suspensions.

He told France Football magazine he had felt the need for a break last summer while recovering from a knee injury.

"The hardest thing I had to endure this year was not football related. The death of my grandmother in June completely struck me down more than anything else," Drogba said in the interview published on Tuesday.

"I was very very close to her and it really made me suffer... This made me ask a few questions to myself. I wondered what I was running after. I said to myself that it was pretty useless to run after results, stats or rewards," he added.

"I didn't want to hear about targets or ambition. I felt totally switched off. For the first time I had lost my passion for football. I was ordinary, I didn't want to fight.

"All summer I felt bad. I am not looking for excuses I just admit, for a while, I put football on the back burner. I was in no rush to recover from my injury. Neither was I motivated."

Drogba said he felt lonely during the summer.

"It is true that I did not feel a great support (from Chelsea)," he said. "I noticed some people in the club had doubts about my ability to be back at my best. But I am not angry at them as for my part I was not fully committed to football."

Drogba refused to comment on rumours linking him with a move to Inter Milan, where he could join former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, and said he had now gone through his grief.

"This break did me good. I now feel very strong. I am hungrier than ever. How could I be satisfied as I have not won the Champions League, the Ballon d'Or award, the African Nations Cup, the World Cup and the Club World Cup yet? I still truly believe I can achieve these goals," he said.

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