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Chelsea may have a battle on their hands to retain several of their best players following the departure of Jose Mourinho.

There has been speculation that many of the club’s players want to follow him out of Chelsea.

Defender Ricardo Carvalho said: “It is a very sad day for me and the team. I had a big offer from Real Madrid but I stayed at Chelsea because of Mourinho.”

And summer signing Florent Malouda added: “I joined Chelsea because of my first meeting with Mourinho.”

Several reports claim striker Didier Drogba is “furious and upset” at the parting of the ways between Chelsea and Mourinho. Drogba, 29, was Chelsea’s top scorer with 33 goals last season.

Reports elsewhere claim Michael Essien and Paulo Ferreira, both brought to Chelsea by Mourinho, may also be considering their future at the club.

Moreover, Frank Lampard, who has refused to sign a new contract enxtension, was regarded as one of Mourinho’s closest allies in the dressing room. Lampard has been linked with a move to Spain with either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

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