ZOLA: When I came here I found a high level of football but, above all else, enjoyment.
Chelsea Legend Gianfranco Zola has been speaking to the Media this week about his time in England and has described how he rediscovered ...
Chelsea Legend Gianfranco Zola has been speaking to the Media this week about his time in England and has described how he rediscovered his love for Football in England.
At the end of the 2002-2003 season, Gianfranco Zola left Chelsea after seven amazing years having been voted Chelsea's greatest ever player. He had made 312 appearances scoring 80 goals and had won two FA Cup's, one League Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners Cup and a UEFA Super Cup in what has to be considered by many as the turning point in our history.
It's amazing to think that Zola signed for Chelsea back in 1996 for a fee of £4.5m which in those days was considered to be a lot of money. Signed by Ruud Gullit, Zola has left Parma and Italy for a new experience in England and he has explained the reason for his move.
"In Italy at that time football was huge.
Every aspect of the game was taken to the extreme and I felt it was too much. I felt it was losing the fun part of it.
At the end of the day as footballers, regardless of how big you are or how much you earn, what matters is having fun.
What I was feeling was that at that time in Italy, the game was so big, so important, and at such a high level, that it was losing something.
When I came here I found a high level of football but, above all else, enjoyment.
I appreciated that very much and that’s one of the reasons why myself and many others played for so long for this wonderful club.
I enjoyed it very much because there was a lot of enthusiasm and a great atmosphere, not only around the stadium but also with the players.
It was really good and I think that’s one of the reasons why we were so successful.
We were allowed to get into the system very quickly and there was a collaboration from everyone for us to be successful, which was important." - Source: The Express.
It really was plain to see, Zola enjoyed himself on the pitch and played the game with a smile on his face. You think of foreign players that come to play in the Premier League and are not only loved by their own fans but also by Supporters of other clubs up and down the country! They are few and far between.
Gianfranco Zola set the perfect example of how you are to conduct yourselves here. He took a battering at times from the opposition but just shook it off, got up and carried on with the game, there was no histrionics or attempts to get people sent off at all. Zola himself was never one to get himself into trouble either - can you actually believe that he only ever received ONE yellow card throughout his entire career!
Gianfranco Zola is and will always be a Chelsea Legend.