MONTREAL (AFP) - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has backed Didier Drogba to make a success of a move to Major League Soccer after reports linking the Blues legend to a career swansong in North America.
Several MLS teams are reportedly in the hunt for Drogba, with the Montreal Impact and Chicago Fire the front-runners after opening talks with the 37-year-old Ivory Coast striker.
Drogba has been a free agent since his contract with the English Premier League champions expired at the end of last season following a second stint at the club.
Mourinho gave any would-be MLS suitor a glowing reference about the forward as he spoke to journalists in Montreal ahead of Chelsea's opening game in their US tour here on Tuesday.
"I think he's the perfect choice. If I owned a club - I don't and I never would - I would immediately think about a player like him, a man like him, to be the centre of the club universe," Mourinho said.
"He's very strong in the dressing room, he's very strong in his image. He's a great example of a club man."
Mourinho revealed Drogba had turned down the chance to work at Chelsea as a coach after his playing career came to a close.
"The fact that he didn't accept to stay with us and that he decided to say he wants to enjoy his football for two more years, it's the best answer," Mourinho said.
"If it comes from him, it's because he feels in great condition for two more years."
Drogba scored seven goals in 38 matches during his second spell with Chelsea, for whom the African has served during four league title runs, four FA Cups and a Champions League crown.
Drogba departed Chelsea in 2012 after eight years in London, playing in China and Turkey before rejoining Chelsea last season.