Hakim Ziyech revealed he looked up to Didier Drogba, John Terry and current Chelsea manager Frank Lampard while growing up and it was an easy decision for him to make when the opportunity came to play for the Blues.
The 27-year-old forward signed a five-year deal with the Stamford Bridge outfit for a fee around €40 million, ahead of several other European clubs who were jostling for his signature.
The Morocco international, however, only teamed up with the Blues this month, after completing the 2019-20 season with Dutch side Ajax and has started training with his new club.
Ziyech explained he has always idolised Ivory Coast legend Drogba, who bagged 104 Premier League goals during his stay at Stamford Bridge, as well as Terry and Lampard.
“When you are a young guy, you always want to play for a big club, in the Premier League of course,” he told ChelseaTV.
“And when I was young the players that played here. It was always a big club so I’m very happy and it means a lot.
“I can remember I was playing in the youths in Heerenveen and we have some teammates, and he was playing [with] Drogba, Lampard, just all those big names, Terry.
“We were always for Chelsea and look now, if you can play here, it means a lot for me.”
Ziyech played for Reaal Dronten, ASV Dronten and Heerenveen’s youth teams before his promotion to the Super Frisians senior side in 2012.
The winger went on to make 36 league appearances for Heerenveen before joining Twente in 2014, where he racked up 30 goals in 68 league games during his two-year stay with the side.
Ziyech has been with Ajax since 2016, helping them to win a number of accolades including the league title and Cup trophy, and also played a key role as they finished as runner-up in the 2017 Europa League.
In the 2019-20 season, which was cancelled as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus, the winger scored eight goals and provided 21 assists across all competitions.
Ziyech will hope to make his debut for the Stamford Bridge outfit during the pre-season games and help them compete for titles in the 2020-21 season.
The forward has 32 caps and 14 goals for Morocco since switching his allegiance from the Netherlands and made his debut against Ivory Coast in October 2015.