Who is Gianfranco Zola?
Gianfranco Zola is a football manager from Italy and former footballer who played mostly as a forward. The Italian was most recently the assistant manager of the Premier League club Chelsea.
Zola spent the first decade of his professional career playing in his homeland, most notably with the Serie A outfit Napoli, alongside Careca and Diego Maradona, where Zola was able to lift league trophies and at Parma, where Gianfranco won the UEFA Cup and the Italian Super Cup.
He later switched to the Blues, where Italy legend was voted the Football Writers’ Player of the Year in the 1996–97 term.
During his time at Stamford Bridge, he won two FA Cups, the UEFA Super Cup, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, the League Cup, and the Community Shield. At the begging of this century, Zola was voted the club’s greatest player ever.
Gianfranco was capped 35 times for his country from his debut in 1991, appearing at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, where his nation finished in second place, and Euro 1996.
After a spell with Italy U21s, he began his club managerial career with Chelsea’s London rivals West Ham United back in 2008, before being sacked two years later.
In the summer of 2012, he became manager of Watford until he announced his resignation the following year.
From December 2014 to March 2015, Zola managed Cagliari in the Italian top-flight. He returned to the Blues as the assistant of new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri on 18 July 2018, ahead of the 2018–19 PL campaign.
How can we explain Gianfranco Zola’s playing style?
An unpredictable, technically gifted, creative, and selfless right-footed team player, Gianfranco was renowned for his skilful dribbling ability, his ball control, vision, and passing skills with either foot, as well as his tactical intelligence, skill to read the game and eye for goal.
Although he wasn’t physically imposing, his small size and low centre of gravity gave Zola good balance and allowed the Italian to be agile and quick.
He was also a set-piece and penalty kick specialist. The Blues icon also stood out for his work rate and tenacity throughout his playing career, as well as his fair–play and professionalism.
Zola is considered as one of the best Italian creative attackers of all time, and as one of the best players in the London giants and the Premier League’s history.