Didier Drogba: Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Carles Puyol best opponents

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has said Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic and Barcelona's Carles Puyol were the toughest opponents he faced.

Drogba, 37, spent two spells as a Chelsea player in which he won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, and the Champions League.

Asked which opponents had provided his most enjoyable and toughest challenges in an interview with Ferdinand to be broadcast on BT Sport on Monday, he told the former United man: "I've always said you and Vidic.

"People say I scored a few goals against Manchester United. I would say when I was scoring against Manchester United I was really, really happy because I didn't score much.

"For me to score against you guys means that I had a good game."

He said ex-Barcelona star Puyol had also made a positive impression during the club's Champions League clashes with Chelsea.

"He's tough, he's a very good defender, but he's a gentleman," he said.

Drogba faced criticism for his early performances at Chelsea following his move from Marseille in 2004, and he said he had to learn how to play a more combative role in the Premier League during Jose Mourinho's first stint at Stamford Bridge.

"I had to adapt to this game," he said when asked about the fear he instilled in opposing defenders. "This wasn't my game when I was in France

"You know I was always at the limit of offside, running behind. When I came to Chelsea I became like a target man -- you know, linking the game with Frank [Lampard], with Arjen Robben, so I had to change my game to adapt to them because they not only dribble but could also score goals.

"When I came at the beginning I was thinking, 'I'm gonna be the one, I'm the king, I'm going to score the goals,' but you realise that you have people around you who can score the goals so you have to share. I learnt also how to change my game."

Drogba said Mourinho's first Chelsea side -- which won two league titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup between 2004 and 2007 -- remained a step ahead of the Portuguese's current side for now, although he suggested that could change.

Asked which was the better side, he said: "I think you agree with me when I say the one that achieves the most [is best], so obviously the first one, but the second one just won the league being top of the league from day one until the end. The first one didn't do that, so let's see in the future.

"I would say the first one was better because I was involved more as a player but there is a difference in the way that when I joined the team it was a bit more mature.

"Frank, [Claude] Makelele, William Gallas -- all these players were around 24, 25 and plus, so this time it's younger and I can see and I can feel that there is a gap. It can progress together, so it's good for the players."

Drogba played a decisive role in Chelsea's cup successes during his first stint, scoring in the 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 FA Cup finals, the League Cup finals of 2005 and 2007, and the 2012 Champions League final, when he scored a late equaliser as well as the winning penalty in the shootout against Bayern Munich.

"I always dreamt of finals, the last goal or winning goals," he said.

"In Ivory Coast, I was playing with my friends on the street. We used to cut a plastic bottle and put some candies inside -- as the cup final -- and we play like this and try to score the winning goal and share them all out with your friends and I think I just love being in front of people.

"For me, football is a game, a competitive game, [but] it's also a way of entertaining people and when I'm there I want people to have fun.

"When I go to the stadium and watch the games, I want to have fun. I try to give them fun by scoring goals in big games and after it becomes a good habit."