Chelsea legends are returning to the club left and right, but one is heading the other way. Gianfranco Zola was confirmed to be leaving just as Frank Lampard & Co were arriving. While reports claimed that Chelsea were hoping to convince him to stay on as either a club ambassador or perhaps as part of Lampard’s coaching staff, Zola had other ideas in mind.
Although he would’ve appreciated some advance notice?
“I found out quite late and the manager positions of the other teams have all been sorted out. Regardless, it is a minor thing for me. It was important that it helped my career. Working for a top club with a top coach has been good for me.
“I was head coach before and my main ambition is to return to that. But to work for Maurizio and Chelsea was a great opportunity.”
While Sarri’s time in charge of Chelsea divided opinion, to say the least, Zola has no doubt that it was a great success and one that will benefit all involved. Sarri already landed the top job in Italy after all. Surely, Zola will find a few doors opening in front of him as well, even as we’re now into July and most teams have started or are starting preseason preparations.
“It has been a great year, there is no doubting that. Unfortunately, it was not to be. What matters is it was a great year and I have been part of a winning team.
“I want to take the opportunity to say thank you very much to the players, all the coaching staff and all the supporters and the club for the wonderful year we have had. Chelsea is in my heart and I was so proud to achieve so much for the club.”
“The most important thing is I want to get on with my future. I would like to stay in England. I will have to wait and see what happens now.”
-Gianfranco Zola; source: The Sun
While Zola’s quotes reveal a departure that was far from ideal — it certainly sounds like he wanted clarity earlier than this week — his statement through the Leauge Managers Association shows that there are no hard feelings between him and the club.
“As I leave Chelsea Football Club, I wish to say thank you to all the fans, players and staff for their incredible support during the past season. I would also like to thank the Board for giving me the opportunity to return to Stamford Bridge as part of Maurizio Sarri’s backroom staff.
“Chelsea is so important to me and I am proud to have helped the club win its sixth European title and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“I wish the new management team and everyone at Chelsea the very best of luck next season and in future.”
-Gianfranco Zola; source: LMA
We’re pretty sure this won’t be the last time we see Zola around Stamford Bridge.
Best of luck, ‘Franco!