Didier Drogba ready to play "hero" role again, say Impact: "He's committed"

MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact and Didier Drogba have ironed out the issues that led to the Ivorian striker refusing to be in the 18-player gameday roster for their 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on Sunday.

Drogba took himself out of the lineup after he was told by Montreal coach Mauro Biello that he would not start against Toronto. On Tuesday, Impact president Joey Saputo said that he and Biello had met with Drogba, who has agreed to accept whatever role awaits him.

"Yes, it was a distraction, but we got through it," Saputo said Wednesday. "As far as how close were we to losing him, I don't think it was ever a question as far as whether Didier would stay or not stay. And he's been a professional throughout his whole career. He's committed to the contracts that he's signed."

Montreal qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs Sunday despite Drogba's absence, and can now look forward to Decision Day on Sunday (at New England Revolution, 4 pm ET; MLS LIVE, TVA Sports in Canada) and a Knockout Round playoff match next week with Drogba available to contribute.

"I think he wasn't in agreement with the decision that was taken," Saputo said. "But I think the meeting was more to clarify exactly why he did what he did, and also just to clarify because of the decisions that he took the situation that he put his teammates in. 

"He understands it, and I think what's important is to have an understanding that moving forward he knows exactly what the role and responsibilities with this club will be, and what role the coaching staff will give him."

Drogba has 10 goals and six assists this season, but he has been displaced by Italian striker Matteo Mancosu in Montreal's starting 11. 

"I still believe in Didier, and I still want Didier to come in and help this team and be the hero he was last year," Biello said.

The Ivorian legend scored 11 goals in just 11 games last year after the Impact made a blockbuster move over the summer to acquire the former Chelsea star.