Didier Drogba has insisted he has at least two years left in top-flight football after leading Chelsea into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
The Blues faced the prospect of a first round exit before playing Valencia at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday but a 3-0 win over the Spaniards, with Drogba scoring twice and leading the line superbly, saw Chelsea into the knockout phase.
Ivorian striker Drogba has now scored four goals in four games and, although the 33-year-old's Chelsea contract expires at the end of the season, this sort of form will encourage the Blues to keep him west London.
Drogba has already insisted he will not leave during the January transfer window and is, reportedly, equally adamant in his desire for a two-year contract extension rather than the one-year deal on the table. Asked if he still had a couple of years left at the highest level of club football, Drogba replied: "I hope so."
The striker, who did not sign his first professional contract until he was 21, added: "I started late at a high level. I was 25 when I started to play my first Champions League games. I feel happy, I feel good on the pitch, I'm really enjoying myself, my football. When we're winning like this, I'm really delighted."
And he did his best to play down contract negotiations, saying: "My future, really, is not very important. When the time will come, we'll speak about it. But, at the moment, we don't need to."
Winger Juan Mata, who set up both of Drogba's goals, said he wanted the forward to stay at Chelsea. "Didier is a super striker. He is strong and fast, scores goals and makes assists. He is very important for us and, against Valencia, he showed it."
Drogba's run of goals followed a spell where he suffered a head injury, got sent off against QPR in a west London derby and underwent arm surgery. "Injuries didn't help, the knock on the head, and the red card," said Drogba. "Plus the surgery on my arm didn't help me to get my fitness. But now I'm having more games, so I hope it's going to come back quickly."
Drogba though insisted he'd yet to hit top form. "Not yet," he said. "I have lost a lot of goals, and I hope this is something that my fitness will help me to improve."
Victory over Valencia meant Chelsea avoided being knocked out of the Champions League before Christmas for the first time in their history. "We did the job because it was impossible for the club not to be in the Champions League," said Drogba. "The players are responsible for that. There was pressure but I think it was good pressure."