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Didier Drogba Refused To Play After Being Told He Wouldn't Start

Montreal Impact manager Mauro Biello has revealed that Didier Drogba refused to take part in Montreal’s playoff-deciding match against rivals Toronto FC on Sunday after being left out of the starting eleven.

Drogba reportedly declined a spot on the bench and elected to be left off the game day roster entirely in a match that decided Montreal’s playoff fate. The Impact ultimately drew with Toronto 2-2, clinching their place in the playoffs for the second straight season.

However, Drogba’s status for Montreal’s final regular season game, on Sunday against New England, and the playoffs remains to be seen.

“Didier was not selected to start the game,” Biello said. “I spoke with him yesterday [Saturday]. He did not accept to come off the bench. In the end he did not want to be in the 18. He said that he did not accept the fact that he was coming off the bench.

“I analyzed everything and I made a decision to give my team the best chance to win. That’s what was behind my decision.”

It had been reported that Drogba was unavailable for selection because of a stiff back, but the rumors surrounding a fall-out between player and club were revealed to be closer to the truth.


“There was tightness in his back, yes, but he was capable of playing,” said Biello. “The organization will have to handle this. I need him. Coming off the bench, he can help this team. He has to help this team, not the other way around.”

Drogba enjoyed a hugely successful debut with the Impact during the 2015 season. Arriving in August, the Ivorian scored 11 goals in 11 matches for the side and helped them to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in club history.

Drogba’s been less effective in his first full season with the club, scoring 10 goals in 22 matches throughout 2016. However, the Impact currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and will play in the first playoff round at the end of October.

This will undoubtedly be Drogba’s final contribution for the Impact, regardless of what kind of role he plays in the next few weeks. The 38-year-old is reportedly a target of interest for Serie A side Napoli and is likely at the end of his MLS career.


Follow me on Twitter: @ConmanFleming

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