Drogba targets Champions League redemption after 2008 red card

The 34-year-old left the field in disgrace against Manchester United in the final four years ago as the Blues went on to lose on penalities in Moscow, thanks to John Terry's miss
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba believes that the Champions League final against German giants Bayern Munich will be a special occasion for the club, as well as a chance to seal a degree of personal redemption.

Drogba was sent off during the 2008 showpiece against Manchester United for slapping Nemanja Vidic and the Ivorian is hoping to make amends in this year's final against Jupp Heynckes' side.

"I think everybody deserves a second chance," he told the Times of India.

"I don’t know if it’s mine, but I think I’ve paid what I had to, by not winning the final, and a lot of criticism after that.

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"But that’s football, and I understand that. It just helped me grow up a little bit more."

Chelsea have been hit by a spate of suspensions for the final on May 19, with John Terry, Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles all ruled out after Uefa rejected appeals for an amnesty in time for the final, and Drogba concedes that they will be missed.

He continued: "They are all big players to miss. I feel sorry for John, he is our captain and we will miss him badly.

"The same is true for the other players — like Ramires, Ivanovic and Meireles. But others will come in and we will play as a team. We have come through a lot together."

Chelsea overcame Barcelona at the semi-final stage despite being reduced to 10 men after Terry saw red for a foul on Alexis Sanchez, and the striker feels that they deserved their place in the final due to the character that they displayed over the two games against the Catalans.

"That’s the spirit of this team," Drogba explained. "What Chelsea achieved is an example of what we’ve been doing for years and years.

"To defend is a culture, I would say it’s an Italian culture, but we have it. Also scoring goals, I think nobody can contest that we came here and we scored goals.

"In the first leg, we scored as well [1-0]. Without being arrogant, I think we deserved to be there."

Turning his attention to the final itself, Drogba is keen to point out that the fixture is being played at Bayern's own home ground, the Allianz Arena, and that they are taking nothing for granted in the build-up to the match.

"It’s going to be a special final. I know people are saying we have beaten the best team in Europe, but we cannot underestimate Bayern," insisted the Ivorian.

"I said from the beginning they were contenders and, of course, we all know about Arjen Robben.

"The final is in their home stadium and that’s a big incentive. But we just want to go and do our best."