• Striker says he scored penalty to 'make Chelsea smile'
• 'In Moscow it was very difficult, very painful for the club'
An hour or so after the final whistle, Didier Drogba took his seat, holding his man-of-the-match award and tried to make sense of all of the different emotions. There was just a shake of the head to begin with. "I don't think there are actually the words to describe how I feel," he said.
Drogba's mind back went to 2008 and the penalty shootout defeat to Manchester United when he had been sent off. "In Moscow it was very difficult, very painful for the club, and tonight we have put that behind us. We gave everything. It was written, I think, a long time ago. I've been at this club for eight years and we've always been so near yet so far. Now, at least, we have this cup. It's coming back with us to Stamford Bridge and that's the best feeling ever."
This was some way for Drogba to say his goodbyes to Chelsea if it is true that he will leave the club this summer. "I was confident," he said of his decisive kick in the penalty shootout, "but before I went to take it I started thinking about what happened in the African Cup of Nations when I could have won the final for my team [Ivory Coast] and missed. It was very hard but at the same time I was thinking I had to score when Petr Cech had made all his saves. When we have this guy in goal you have to believe.
"I wanted to score for him and my other team-mates. I wanted to make Chelsea smile compared to the other time when we were all down and crying."
Drogba made a point of citing Ashley Cole's goalline clearance against Napoli, at 3-1 down in the first leg, as "the turning point of the season". Later, Roberto Di Matteo would also reflect on that moment at Stadio San Paolo in the first knockout stage, at a time when he was still André Villas-Boas's assistant. "At 4-1, that would have been it done."
The match-winner and the victorious manager were more reluctant to discuss their own positions. "I don't know what the future will hold," Di Matteo said when asked whether he wanted to remain at Stamford Bridge. "I'm just happy we have won. It's a historic night for this club."
Drogba said he didn't think he "could take decisions based on emotional moments like this." Di Matteo was pressed further but would not say whether he thought he was capable of taking the job long term. "I'm capable of going on holiday. It's been a challenging three months but it [his future] is irrelevant for now and you know that what I discuss with the boss [Roman Abramovich] stays private."
The idea that Di Matteo could be shown the exit now, though, seemed preposterous. "It means everything, this competition," Frank Lampard said. "We've been so many years trying to do this. This is the one we really wanted and we've got it. He took us from a struggling team maybe going out of the Champions League and we won it, so look at that."
Di Matteo also received Cech's backing. "Whatever happens to him [Di Matteo] he's got two fantastic cups and he's deserved that. I think he's done enough to get the job but now it's up to the board to decide."
Finally, there was support from the man who did not let his suspension prevent him lifting the trophy with Lampard. "Robbie has been fantastic since he came in," John Terry said. "You look at that trophy. That's certainly what we've been waiting for, what the owner's been waiting for, what the owner was in tears for. He's strived for this, he's pumped an awful lot of money into this football club trying to achieve that. Tonight we've done it."
Di Matteo added: "I'm enjoying this moment and I'd just like to go out and celebrate with the players. I just want to enjoy it. Four years ago the club had a very painful experience in Munich. I was watching at home and I felt so sorry for John Terry at the time because it would have been like a film script, him scoring the winning goal.
"The club have waited a long time. We have a group of players that have a big heart, passion, motivation and desire. That was the only way to be able to achieve this trophy. It's been an immense effort by the whole group – staff, players – and we are very happy tonight."
Tens of thousands of Chelsea fans are expected to line the streets of west London on Sunday for the club's open-top bus parade. The rolling procession will begin at Stamford Bridge at 4pm.