Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has revealed an exchange between him and owner Roman Abramovich before signing club legend Didier Drogba.
The Ivory Coast striker joined the Blues in 2004 for £24million from French side Marseille.
Drogba went on to score over 160 goals for the club; making him the fourth highest goal-scorer in Chelsea's history.
Speaking out on beIN Sports for the first time since being sacked by Manchester United in December, Mourinho said: "Drogba is the kind of guy who is so loyal that he never forgot that I took him from Marseille to the Premier League, where he was not even expected, because he didn't start very young at that level.
"He had already played for Guingamp, Marseille, Le Mans and on a few loans, so when I took him to Chelsea I remember clearly Abramovich was asking me, 'who do you want as a striker?'
"With all the big names in Europe at that time, I said Drogba.
"(Abramovich said) 'Who? Who is he? Where is he playing?' I said 'Mr Abramovich - pay. Pay, and don't speak'.
"And Didier was an iconic player for Chelsea, for the Premier League."
Mourinho's insistence to sign an unproven top-league striker paid off.
Drogba went on to win three Premier League titles and four FA Cups - as well as playing a key role in Chelsea's famous Champions League victory before moving to China in 2012.
Mourinho re-joined Chelsea and brought the powerhouse back to West London two years later. The pair celebrated another Premier League title together that season.
"When he (Drogba) came back to Chelsea I told him 'you are not number one, but I need you here to help me with the team,'" he said.
"He was phenomenal again.
"Players of that character and with that personality are important from day one in their career to the end of their career."
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Words by Kane Allen
Featured Image Credit: PA