Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has made a return to the club and will serve as assistant first-team manager to new boss Maurizio Sarri.
There clearly won’t be a language barrier for the Italian pair, and Zola has managerial experience in England with the likes of West Ham, Watford and most recently Birmingham City; his appointment could prove to be a real coup for the Blues.
As a player, the now 52-year-old Zola represented Chelsea from 1996-2003 and made 229 league appearances, scoring 59 goals. He helped the club to win two FA Cups and one Uefa Cup before the days they had the spending power that Roman Abramovich has afforded them. After leaving Chelsea in 2003, Zola went on to play for Cagliari in his homeland and ended his playing career in 2005. He is still viewed highly by most fans of the club and is even considered by many to be worthy of legendary status.
Despite being a wonderful player during his heyday, Zola’s managerial career has been mixed so far. During his time as West Ham manager, he struggled to bring the club consistent results, being sacked at the end of the 2009/10 season after the Hammers narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League. His last managerial stint with Birmingham also consisted of just two wins from 24 games.
Zola is, however, excited about his appointment as assistant manager and believes he has a lot to contribute: “For me, it is an amazing thing.
“I am very willing to work hard because it is going to be a difficult challenge but I am pleased to be here, to work hard with Maurizio to be successful. It would be great to be successful with Maurizio and for the club and I will give my best, as I did in the past as a player, so I will give my best in my new position.
“I am very much looking forward to the challenge in general. I would love us to start well and we are all very excited to start this new adventure.”