Didier Drogba, one of our favorite players over the years who’s nonetheless closer to middle age than the middle of his playing prime, gave some of the gentle yet unambiguous real talk that former European stars cashing checks in MLS are prone to hand down from time to time. Surprise surprise, he doesn’t think the league is close to the big boys in Europe.
Fresh off the Montreal Impact’s final game of the regular season, Drogba had this to say about how MLS stacks up in the grand scheme of things, via Goal.com:
“The MLS is a good league, with some good teams, and you can see that there’s some good football players here, but I think if this league wants to be one of the best in the world in the next few years I think there’s a lot of things to improve, like the travelling for the players, and (not) playing on turf surfaces,” Drogba said. “If you want to compare this league to the English one, to the French, to the Spanish, to the big leagues, it has a lot to do. But I hope the league (will get better) and I think it’s on the way.”
A good league with some good teams and some good players wouldn’t be anything to scoff at necessarily, if you didn’t have the commissioner, swirling his hands ominously around a crystal ball that predicts miracles, making grand proclamations about how MLS is set to challenge the best of the best by 2022, and jingoistic fanboys who consider it downright treasonous to prefer great leagues with great teams and some of the greatest players to ever live to glorified college teams with a few ringers sprinkled about.
We must admit, though, that MLS is in fact on the slow crawl towards marginal improvement, and will probably be better in the future than it is now. Drogba’s own presence with the Montreal Impact and the 11 goals he’s scored in his 11 games attests to this. Just take a look at the impressive double he scored in the aforementioned regular season closer yesterday:
However, you have to imagine that one of the unstated criticisms Drogba had for MLS was that until the league no longer makes an upper-midtable Serie A forward look like peak-Messi and stops being bossed by a 37-year-old striker three years after his first caviar-and-cocktails stint in China’s league, it’s not one to be taken all that seriously.
Photo via AP