John Terry has backed Didier Drogba to stay at Chelsea after the pair celebrated their third Premier League title together with a narrow victory over Crystal Palace.
Both men played the full 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge as Jose Mourinho's side clinched success in typically efficient fashion following a first-half header from Eden Hazard.
Drogba, whose previous eight-year stint at the club culminated in him scoring the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final, signed a one-year deal upon his return to Chelsea last July and his future has been shrouded in controversy of late with no new contract agreed and the striker having confirmed that he does not intend to retire at the end of the season.
While the Ivorian had largely been restricted to a bit-part role for the majority of the campaign to date, he has started four of the last five league games after fellow summer signing Diego Costa suffered a recurrence of a long-standing hamstring problem and chief backup Loic Remy injured his calf in training.
And although Drogba has only scored four goals in total this term, Terry believes the 37-year-old's sheer wealth of experience makes him a valuable asset moving forward.
"He's been great because he's had to be patient," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror. "Ideally he would have liked a bit more game-time. But Diego Costa hit the ground running, scoring a lot of goals.
"But Didier's experience and the way he speaks before the games, after defeats when you're down and you need an old head to help.
"At times we've been worried after defeats and he's said that it happens and we'll bounce back and be alright. When you hear that from someone like him, everyone takes it on board.
"Let's hope he's in the camp next season. He's got a massive part to play on and off the field. He's shown that on the field but off the field he really has got a massive part to play."
Mourinho has been pressed on Drogba's future in recent weeks, although he insists the decision must be made by the player himself as well as owner Roman Abramovich.
"I think it belongs to him: what he feels, what he thinks. When they reach this age, I think it's more about them analysing themselves. It's not just about the body. It's about the body, the brain, the heart, family, projects for the future," he told the club's official website prior to the goalless draw at Arsenal.
"I think, this is a club thing. This is a Mr Abramovich thing. Mr Abramovich wants him to do what he wants in the club, but it's something Mr Abramovich has to tell him. He has to decide. But, obviously, he belongs to the history of this club. These guys are special players."
A possible coaching role with Chelsea has previously been mooted, although that it looks unlikely for now with Drogba keen to continue his playing career for at least another year.