Torres is the future of Chelsea, insists Drogba

The Ivory Coast forward is confident the Spaniard will step up after announcing that he will be leaving Stamford Bridge in the summer following the conclusion of his contract

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba believes Fernando Torres will key for the club next season following his own impending departure.

The Ivory Coast international confirmed on Tuesday that the he will be leaving Stamford Bridge this summer once his contract expires, but the player feels they have someone ready to step up and replace him.

The 21-year-old Lille prodigy is keeping his options open following the Blues Champions League win

Drogba has acknowledged that Torres has had difficulty asserting himself in the Chelsea first-team since his £50 million move in January 2011, he has insisted that he will be essential to the Blues next season, claiming that he is “the future”.

"It's been difficult for him [Torres], but he has showed he is the man,” Drogba told the BBC.

"Next season is going to be his season and I will try to speak to him. We have a good relationship. We don't understand why we didn't play together more, but that's the past. Torres is the future.”

The 34-year-old elaborated on his decision to leave Stamford Bridge after an eight-year spell, admitting that following Saturday’s Champions League win he is happy to end his Chelsea career on such a high.

He continued: "I think winning the game was the key. Not me scoring the penalty. Winning the game was the turning point, that's why I have decided to say goodbye.

"We made the story together and I want people to remember that. This is the best time to move on.

"Yes, there's a chance that if the result was different, maybe I would be here.

"We were talking for many weeks, but the turning point was based on the fact I won everything I could and scored in most of the finals we have played, trying to make a difference. I hope everyone will understand. Everything I did was for the fans and I hope they understand."

The striker added that it is with a heavy heart that he calls an end to his time in west London, and was quick to stress that the club will always mean a lot to him.

"I would love to help Chelsea in any way, even if they tell me to come and cut the grass. I will do it.

"Being here for eight years, it will be a big change. Players will go, some stay, but the club will remain as ambitious as it has always been. I am not worried. Chelsea was there before I came and always will be.

"It's impossible to forget this moment. Leaving Chelsea in any case would be difficult, but now even more. It is impossible, Chelsea is in my heart. My blood is blue and my heart even more so."