The Real Madrid boss admitted his attachment to the Galatasaray forward goes beyond their time at Chelsea, and has urged his side to score goals on Wednesday.
Mourinho coached the Cote d'Ivoire striker during their time at Chelsea, and he admitted they forged a friendship that supercedes their professional connection.
"Dider Drogba was a great player for me, a great friend and someone that will stay in my life forever. We created emotional links that go further than football," Mourinho told reporters at a press conference. "[Wesley] Sneijder and Drogba have been important players for me in the past, but tomorrow they will be my friends, not the players in my team."
Mourinho went on to praise Drogba's current coach at Galatasaray, Fatih Terim, and warned of the qualities of the Super Lig champions' star attacking trio that includes Burak Yilmaz, who is tied with Cristiano Ronaldo for the most goals in this season's comeptition (8).
"We have our objectives for tomorrow but so do they. I want to win. Our opponents want to win," Mourinho said. "They have a great coach with experience of games at this level and so [he] feels comfortable. He is not afraid of playing here. He has players who have played in the best teams in the world, players who are calm when it comes to playing in the quarterfinals of this competition.
"Drogba, Sneijder and Burak [Yilmaz] could play for any team in the world."
Mourinho has called on his side to ensure it scores goals in their first-leg clash at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
"It is important that we score the goals to win this game and who does that is not important to me," Mourinho said. "When you have great players you always expect big things from them. If you look at the [Manchester] United game, [Gonzalo] Higuain did not score but he played a great game. This is what is important for me, that the players in general do well for the team."