Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes has labelled Didier Drogba an “outstanding actor” ahead of Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final.
The Chelsea striker is set to lead the line against Bayern in Munich but that has not stopped the opposition boss criticising his theatrical approach on the eve of the clash.
While acknowledging the Ivory Coast international is a threat, Heynckes also alluded to the 34-year-old’s reputation for diving.
“Drogba, for many years, has been one of the top strikers in the Premier League and is definitely dangerous – he can score at any moment,” he said.
“Sometimes he overdoes it a bit. Sometimes he’s an outstanding actor on the pitch.”
Heynckes was more effusive in his praise for his opposite number Roberto Di Matteo.
The Chelsea manager has already won the FA Cup and there is speculation that even a Champions League win would not guarantee the Italian will keep hold of his position.
That is something Heynckes can empathise with, having left Real Madrid in 1998 despite leading the Spanish giants to a first European Cup in 32 years.
And the 67-year-old coach believes Di Matteo deserves credit for getting the Blues’ season back on track.
He added: “We must not forget that he has brought Chelsea all the way to the final with a very calm attitude. It seems he’s a very cool person who’s very much in control.
“Step by step, he’s improved contact with the players and created harmony. That harmony can be felt.
“He’s done a marvellous job and I can’t see why whether he wins tomorrow or not would have consequences. You need continuity.
“I don’t think there’s any argument against him continuing. He makes an excellent impression on me and, if I was Abramovich, I would continue with this young man.”
But despite the kind words, Heynckes is determined not to waste the rare opportunity Bayern have this year to play a European final in their own stadium.
“We may not have this chance again, to play the final in our own stadium, the Allianz Arena,” said Heynckes.
“I’m going to talk to the team and perhaps drive the team bus through Munich, see everything with red and white flags and talk with the people.
“That would be fantastic preparation for a Champions League final.
“(Bayern president) Uli Hoeness said two years ago that he had a dream.
“The dream was to play the final of the Champions League in our own stadium. We’ve made it.
“This is where I’d like to limit these declarations.
“We’re playing a team with huge experience, fantastic organisation, outstanding players.
“If I look at the path of Chelsea through the group stage and in the knockout, they beat Napoli 4-1 – a team we played who are a top team.
“Then beat Barcelona, the best team in the world. Then drew 2-2 there with a man down. That’s a sufficient warning for everybody.
“I don’t share the euphoria you hear outside that we’re the favourites. In a Champions League final, there is no favourite.
“At Chelsea, they have players who have won everything apart from this, and it’s their dream to win it, too.
“We may have a tiny advantage from playing at home in our own stadium, and we’ll have our own dressing room etc etc… so we know every blade of grass on the pitch.
“That could make a difference.”