Mido's Drogba warning

If anyone knows just how closely West Ham United will have to watch Chelsea striker Didier Drogba this Saturday, it is Mido.

The Egyptian spent a single season partnering the Ivory Coast hitman - named African Footballer of the Year for the second time on Friday - at French club Olympique de Marseille in 2003/04.

Together, the pair scored 26 of Marseille's 51 league goals as l'OM finished seventh in the Ligue 1 table, but tempered that disappointment by reaching the UEFA Cup final before losing out to Valencia.

Seven seasons on, Drogba has gone on to great things at Stamford Bridge, winning two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and two League Cups and becoming a vital part of the Blues' starting lineup - and Mido has not been surprised by the 32-year-old's achievements.

"At Marseille, we were playing together. It was great. He is a big player. That was the season he exploded, let's say. He was ridiculously good back at Marseille. He was different class. He scored a lot of goals. He was a strong player and I enjoyed playing with him. His physical presence frightens people.

"He creates chances for himself by moving a lot. At the end he is just a great finisher and that is just the difference between strikers and another. How you score goals. He is just a great finish. If he gets a chance, he knows how to strike it and he has a special way of hitting the ball and I am very happy for him. He has done great for himself and his family. He is brilliant. I still talk to him."

While Mido has established himself as a top player in his own right, he was not afraid to highlight the strengths of his former strike partner.

"Sometimes you do things and think I can do better because he does a lot of things better than me but I think I am a different player, the way I play my football. He has got his own game and it is totally different qualities. I think if I played like that I wouldn't be good.

"I had some assists with him. I think he can play with one or two strikers with Nicolas Anelka. Didier is one of the best ever Premier League strikers, I think so. I don't think you will find a lot of players like him. It is just his way of playing, turning in the box. It is very difficult to find a player like him. He is very good man, a top man and very good in the dressing room. He tried to help young players. He is a fantastic guy to have at your club."

As an African himself, Mido is aware just how big a star Drogba is on his home continent - following in the footsteps of the likes of former AC Milan striker George Weah.

"Footballers in Africa become real idols. You look at George Weah, he ran for President [of Liberia]. These players get big in their countries. All of Africa follows the Premier League more than anywhere else. Everyone there watches it. For them to see their players from their own countries - poor countries - competing and scoring goals and winning things, is the best thing. It makes them so proud that a compatriot has reached that level. They just love them.

"In a way I am like that. In Egypt the Premier League is massive - if a player walked in the street there everyone will be after him."