Didier Drogba and Michael Essien
Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba has blamed inexperience for their 3-0 defeat in Madrid on Wednesday, during their first leg quarter final Champions League clash against Real.
The Turkish outfit suffered a heavy defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu following goals by Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain, thereby heavily compromising their chances of qualification ahead of the return leg next Tuesday in Istanbul.
“We couldn't keep up the pace against them, although I think it’s more due to a lack of experience than anything else. We are learning, the team is young.
Jose Mourinho and Didier Drogba
Ivoirian striker Didier Drogba will meet his former mentor again on Wednesday, for Galatasaray’s away game in Madrid in their Champions League quarter final clash.
Real Madrid coach José Mourinho coached the captain of the Elephants between 2004 and 2007 during his tenure on the Chelsea bench, and a very special relationship was created between the two men.
“I am going to play against my father, Mourinho. He has a special place in my heart, he changed my life,” admitted Drogba, who never misses an opportunity to sing the praises of the Portuguese technician.
“He is a person who looks after his players and who does his utmost to get the best out of them.”
One day after his 35th birthday Didier Drogba showed there was life in him still when he played all 90 minutes for Turkish giants Galatasaray as they beat German hosts Schalke 3:2 to advance to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
In typical fashion, when the occasion is big, Drogba rises to the fore and once again his imprint was on this win that sent Gala through 4:2 on aggregate.
The Ivorian legend, whose last kick of the same tournament last season delivered the title to London club Chelsea for the first time ever, started the game in his usual bullish form.
Gervinho insists a Champions League "miracle" is still possible for Arsenal against Bayern Munich on Wednesday evening.
The Gunners head to the Allianz Arena with a mountain to climb, having lost the home leg 3-1 to the German champions-elect, leaving them needing to score at least three times to progress.
But while he recognises the scale of the task, Gervinho insists it is still possible for Arsenal to progress if they get a fast start and manage to put the runaway Bundesliga leaders under pressure.
“We know it is not going to be an easy match. It is not easy to come back from 3-1 against Bayern Munich,” the Ivorian told the club's official website.
UEFA have rejected an appeal by Schalke against Didier Drogba's inclusion in Galatasaray's 1-1 draw Champions League with them earlier this month.
The German side believed they had a convincing case to see their Turkish opponents punished with a 3-0 forefit because they claim Drogba signed 12 days after the deadline.
The German club claimed Galatasary did not announce Drogba's arrival on their official website until February 12, although UEFA rules state clubs have only until February 1 to register a 'maximum of three new eligible players' for the knock-out stages.
Didier Drogba and Jermaine Jones
Bundesliga side Schalke 04 have lodged a protest with Uefa over Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba's participation in their 1-1 Champions League draw.
"There are doubts about the validity of the permission to play Drogba in the Champions League," the German club said on their official Twitter account.
"Schalke 04 reserves its rights and is looking into this."
Uefa confirmed it had received "a protest concerning Drogba's eligibility".
The European governing body said its disciplinary panel would investigate the matter but had not yet set a date.