Exactly 11 years today, Michael Essien rated his Chelsea teammate at the time as a better player than Cristiano Ronaldo.

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He said: “I would make us favourites for the title ahead of United. Last season they depended a lot on Ronaldo, who was sensational.

“But I don’t know how he will play this season because runs of good form don’t go on forever.

“I would always pick Drogba over Ronaldo - he is a good player but he does not score as many goals.”

Essien also said, he managed to convince Didier Drogba stay at Chelsea that season.

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“Drogba is a key player for Chelsea and we need him. But I didn’t think he would leave. He was the Premiership’s leading scorer and it would have been a big mistake for the club to let him go.

“There is no one who could replace him who is in the market at the moment. Didi is a great footballer and he understands what his role is at Chelsea.

“He can’t complain about the way Mourinho or the club treat him be cause he is one of the stars of the team and we all have to be treated the same.

“I would have bet anything that Drogba continued with us. He’s not going to find a better club in Italy or in Spain and he knows it.

“This pre-season he has looked more involved and committed than ever, both in training and games.

“He has the same motivation and fighting spirit as last season.”

Michael Essien made the statement at a time Cristiano Ronaldo was yet to win any of his five FIFA Player of Year/Ballon d’Or.

Essien is expected to rescind his decision if asked the same question today, because Cristiano Ronaldo is rated as one of the 10 greatest players to grace the turf, but, we can’t say the same for Didier Drogba.