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Drogba to miss four of first five matches due to artificial surfaces

MLS: Chicago Fire at Montreal

After continued debate over artificial surfaces and their place in sports, the Montreal Impact will be without one of their stars for the early portion of the 2016 MLS season.

Striker Didier Drogba will miss four of Montreal’s first five matches, due to concerns over the potential risk to the Ivorian’s health. The only match that Drogba is scheduled to play in during that span is the Impact’s March 19 meeting against FC Dallas.

“We saw last year when we played (on 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 on Thursday. “It’s simply a matter of not taking a risk. The season is long. There are 34 games.

“Its unfortunate with our scheduling that four of the first five games are on turf. We have to deal with that, but it’s a long season and there are a lot of games left to play. If we manage him correctly, he’ll be good to go for the rest of the season and healthy at the end, when it counts.”

Canadian outlet RDS first reported the notion that Drogba would miss time with the Impact. The report also cited the 38-year old could potentially train with NASL side Miami FC during the first month of the MLS campaign.

Due to the cold weather conditions in Montreal, the Impact will play its first two home matches indoors at Stade Olimpique, before returning to Stade Saputo on April 24 against Toronto FC.

What do you think of this news? Will Drogba continue his 2015 success this season with Montreal?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Don’t get me wrong–I hate artificial turf. But there’s New England-style turf and…well almost anything else. Some of the new turf fields are fun to play on, at least at the recreational level. I much prefer them to the terrible “grass” surfaces I play on outside, where my goalie box is hard, bare dirt.

  2. I totally agree with his position. I hate watching games played on turf and as a retired player, it is hard on the joints. The owners love it because they don’t have to cut it and maintain it between games. Most players will knock it but it takes the biggest names, like Drogba, that can refuse to even play on it, without running a confrontation with their owner.

    We had a beautiful grass field in New England and all it took was one muddy game for the Patriots and by the next week, it was ripped out and replaced with the crap we have now. As long as socer teams share a field with football teams, we will continue to see turf 🙁

  3. Soccer played on turf is a different game – players don’t like it and is dangerous on the body. From a fan perspective I will never pay to go to a top level soccer game played on turf. A completely different game and it is not easy on the eyes.

    Robbie Keane is on record stating that for MLS to be taken seriously they need to make all stadiums natural grass.

    Hey Don….time to go Natural. Time to drop the NFL fetish.

    • These issues will keep dogging MLS. I think the complexion of the game would completely change with a new commissioner who didn’t put up with turf and other NFL precedents / owner fetishes.

  4. Good. Artificial turfs are dangerous for the health of footballers and must be banned. Why are they forcing the new Atlanta ‘franchise’ to play on turf is beyond me!

    MLS loses credibility with every game being played on fake turf. This is almost as damming for the league as going 0:4 against Liga MX teams this week.

  5. That’s what the clubs get for insisting on turf. Top international players refuse to play on it. Serves them right. Turf is junk.

  6. Like I stated in the other article what a joke!
    Drodgba what a p***y! If you’re going to sign with a team then play for them! All these DP coming to play only the games they want hurts the development of the younger players. Which means when he comes back to play the games he wants, it puts a developing player back on the bench. Don’t come and demand a DP contact if you’re not going to suffer with the team through the entire season.

    • Then MLS should make the regular season more relevant. This is how MLS chooses to structure the thing, so fans suffer a little by losing their only iconic player for a period. No Drogba for the first few games of the season in no way hurts Montréal’s chances to win the league. Maybe helps it by saving him for the important stretch.

  7. While I’m tempted to call him a diva, he cannot be blamed given what he has already accomplished at the highest levels of the game. Additionally, as this is very likely his final season as a player, I’m sure that he’s thinking that he still wants his knees to function properly 20 years from now and does not want to risk any potential injuries which could have a long term impact (see what I did there).

    After MLS has the stadium piece figures out for every club, the league will need to seriously examine doing away with turf fields.

  8. Take that Don Garber! I’m sure he will blow a gasket over this but oh well, what can you do? Artificial turf is no bueno, so I get Drogba not wanting to play on it. Is it a bit Diva’ish? Not if the story about his knee swelling last season is true.


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