Diego Costa has credited and praised Drogba for helping make his career at Chelsea start out successfully.
Drogba won 10 major trophies in his first spell at Chelsea and returned for a second time in 2014-15, with Costa also joining, he added the League Cup and EPL to his cabinet.
The Spain international said Drogba offered support and advice, even though it was clear he would be relegated to the bench.
“I have always seen Drogba as the example to follow in terms of a centre-forward,” Costa said. “He was strong and scored loads of goals and he was a quality player.
“Just watching him train helped me. Just seeing him, I was amazed. This is because – and I’m not making this up at all – I specifically used to watch Chelsea [before he joined], who are obviously a big club, just to see Drogba.
“He was famous and everyone would talk about him. I even liked watching him when he played for the Ivory Coast.
“When I arrived here, he was never cold with me, quite the opposite. I wasn’t exactly scared of him, but he was such a legend who had helped the club grow and been a part of all that.
“He made history here, so could have been dismissive of me but, no, he was always fantastic with me. I will always have fond memories of him and whenever I see him, I thank him. It’s not always easy for someone with so much history to be in that position.
“I was playing well, scoring goals, and he would support and motivate me, whereas others might not have done the same. I take my hat off to him.”
Having faltered in 2015-16, Costa is back on form for Chelsea this time around, scoring 15 times in 22 Premier League appearances for the top flight’s runaway leaders.