The rumours have been out there for several few days, but on Thursday it was confirmed by the Montreal Impact that striker Didier Drogba will not be playing in Sunday’s season opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The legendary Côte d’Ivoire striker will not play on artificial turf to start the season because of a lingering knee injury.
“We saw last year when we played on artificial turf in New England, his knee really swelled up and he really had a tough time recovering afterwards for the playoffs,” Impact Technical Director Adam Braz said. “It’s simply a matter of not taking a risk. The season is long. There are 34 games.”
The news, however, was greeted with mixed reactions by the soccer media:
Drogba to miss 4 of 1st 5 games for Impact due to artificial turf. Some unfortunate scheduling, I can't blame IMFC https://t.co/aaANrQHJwE
— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) March 3, 2016
Letting Drogba get away with this also a bad example for other players to follow, and hurts credibility of MLS. #IMFC
— John Molinaro (@JohnMolinaro) March 3, 2016
— Nigel Reed (@Nigel_Reed) March 3, 2016
Didier Drogba to #MLS is Abby Wambach to the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
— Mike Martignago (@MikeMartignago) March 3, 2016
Fans of the Vancouver Whitecaps have grown used to the absence of big-name Euro stars like Drogba and Thierry Henry, who, over the years, have often fallen victim to well-timed and mysterious injuries that have kept from playing on the artificial turf at BC Place.
Is Drogba’s injury legitimate or is it just a case of the ‘field turf flu’?
Hey, maybe it was a case of the ‘Waston willies’?
— db (@dlbno) March 3, 2016
We’ll never know.