It has been exactly one year since I traveled 44 hours to Angola to interview Didier Drogba, the Chelsea and Ivory Coast superstar, for a story in
What impressed me most about Drogba the person was his social conscience: He was using his celebrity status to help Ivory Coast, announcing plans to put money from his endorsements toward building a hospital in his native Abidjan. Drogba the player was doing pretty well too. After winning his second African Player of the Year award, he would go on to seize the 2009-10 Premier League title with Chelsea, his third, and win the Golden Boot with 29 league goals.
A broken right arm slowed Drogba during the World Cup, and after a sizzling start Chelsea has struggled over the past six weeks in the Premier League, dropping from first place to its current fourth-place spot in the table, seven points behind leader Manchester United (which has a game in hand). Drogba, 32, has dealt with a number of physical issues: hernia surgery in July and malaria, of all things, in October. He has eight league goals on the season, tied for ninth in the Premiership.
Last Friday (the day before Chelsea's 2-0 win against Blackburn) I got a call from Drogba while I was driving on Interstate-95 in Maryland. I pulled over to the side of the road and enjoyed a catch-up conversation over the next half-hour. We talked in part for a magazine story (coming soon), but he also addressed the goings-on at Chelsea these days. Here's our interview, edited for length and clarity: