Zola open to Chelsea return
Gianfranco Zola would be open to returning to Chelsea as a coach or manager in the future, ESPN has reported, with the current Watford manager revealing the good relationship he maintains with owner Roman Abramovich.
Zola spent seven years as a Chelsea player between 1996 and 2003, scoring 80 goals and playing more than 300 games. He won the FA Cup in 1997 and 2000 and the League Cup in 1998, as well as taking the European Cup Winners’ Cup and a multitude of individual awards. In 2003, he was voted Chelsea’s greatest ever player.
He left Stamford Bridge to end his career at Cagliari, the club in his home region of Sardinia, playing two years in Italy and helping Cagliari to promotion to Serie A. Since retiring as a player, Zola has managed West Ham and was appointed Watford boss in summer 2012 after the Championship club was taken over by the Pozzo family, who own Serie A side Udinese. Watford are second in the Championship.
Zola said: “[Abramovich] really valued me and tried to bring me back, but I was tied up. He always had, I believe, a high value in myself. So you never know.
“There has always been an interest from [Chelsea]. We didn’t work it out but we have a high respect and appreciation for each other.”
The Chelsea manager’s job is to become vacant once more this summer, when interim manager Rafael Benitez leaves at the end of his contract. Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is the bookmakers’ favourite for the position, ESPN adds.
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