I’m the living result
I’m a man who’s been hurt a little too much
And I’ve tasted the bitterness of my own tears
Sadness is all my lonely heart can feel
I can’t stand up for falling down
I can’t stand up for falling down
— Elvis Costello
Here at the Paddy Power Blog we don’t think Didier Drogba is a fan of Elvis Costello. But let’s assume nothing. Except that for all his striking talents Drogba is a man frequently lampooned by those for whom jumpers for goalposts is the highest level of football ever reached.
That’d be us.
None of the Paddy Power Blog team — that we know of — has a village named after him. None of us has been cheered at airport homecomings, held aloft and showered with flowers. None of us is more powerful than the president.
That’d be Didier Drogba. Chelsea hitman. Ivory Coast icon. International fall guy.
Yes, we take the piss because this proven goalscoring machine and football icon would sometimes rather just fall over. Take a dive. Do a tumble. We’d suggest auditioning for the Billy Elliot musical but Didier won’t return our calls. And we don’t have his number.
Quick recap, for the dunces at the back. At 34, Drogba is a man who doesn’t know better — he’s been at this lark a while.
A goal machine with a fondness for worm-bothering
Born on March 11, 1978, Drogba has scored 155 goals in a Chelsea career that stretches back to 2004 in 336 appearances. The guy can find the net. He can also find the floor.
Drogba’s freshest bout of worm-bothering came when he wasted six crucial minutes in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Barcelona in last Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final first leg. Indeed, he collapsed to the ground in apparent agony several times at Stamford Bridge.
Despite his theatrics, he was Chelsea’s main man in that first leg, scoring the winner.
Rafa Benitez, once a successful football manager but now a Spanish waiter impersonator, had a right ol’ Champions League spat with Drogba in 2008 and went to rather obsessive lengths to try to get the better of the gravitationally-challenged Ivorian.
Benitez expressed his belief that Drogba went down a bit easy. “With Drogba, it’s important to have a good referee,” the Spaniard said in between mouthfuls of paella.
Rafa, then Liverpool boss, added: “It’s very impressive. I have a lot of clips of him from over the years and he surprises me.” Rafa always freaked us out.
Drogba’s diving goes back a bit admittedly. In 2006, speaking to the BBC’s Match of the Day after Chelsea lost 2-0 to Manchester City, he admitted: “Sometimes I dive, sometimes I stand.”
But he then retracted that statement, saying: “No, I don’t dive.” Complicated guy. Heck of a player when he stands up.
Time to make a stand, Didier
The former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, speaking in The Sun, gave his thoughts on the whole diving malarky — and rumours that Ashley Young is being touted as Drogba’s understudy in our Didi Fellalot production.
“Some call it gamesmanship, others say it’s simply part of the game. To me, it is, and always will be, cheating,” said Wrighty.
“The way it’s going, if Tom Daley doesn’t win the Olympic gold, he could do a roaring trade setting up his own diving school for footballers.”
That’s just plain silly, Wrighty, but Paddy Power has made the gag several times. It’s time for new jokes. And for Drogba to make a stand. Starting tonight at Camp Nou — but don’t put your money on it.
(Drogba image by Rob Dore)