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Official: Gianfranco Zola re-joins Chelsea as assistant coach

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Welcome home, Gianfranco!

Gianfranco Zola of Chelsea celebrates scoring the equalising goal Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

Gianfranco Zola is a name that should need no introduction.

So let’s just jump straight in. Gianfranco has come home. Fifteen years after calling time on his Chelsea career, the little magician has returned to Stamford Bridge in a coaching role, agreeing to become new head coach Maurizio Sarri’s assistant.

“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.”

-Gianfranco Zola; source: Chelsea FC

Zola had been spotted earlier in Chelsea TV’s footage of Chelsea’s final training session before departing for Australia on a pre-season tour, confirming weeks and weeks of rumors of him coming back to the club. While his exact role remains a bit of a mystery, seeing him on the training ground probably hints at an actual coaching role for him rather than just some sort of administrative liaison between coach and upper management or perhaps even as a director of football (though he may yet fulfill at least partial duties of either of those two job definitions)

In any case, welcome home, ‘Franco!