Gianfranco Zola returns to Chelsea as Sarri’s assistant manager

As a player,Former Chelsea striker Gianfranco Zola has returned to the club as assistant to new manager Maurizio Sarri.

Zola returns to Stamford Bridge, having enjoyed a wonderful seven-year playing career at Chelsea between 1996 and 2003, making 312 appearances during which he scored 80 goals and won four major trophies.

Zola, who resigned as Birmingham City manager in April 2017, has joined Chelsea’s pre-season tour of Australia.

“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, and 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,” Zola told the club’s official website.

Fellow Italian Sarri was appointed last week to replace compatriot Antonio Conte, who was sacked, a year after leading the team to the title, after Chelsea failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Zola’s coaching career has seen him manage West Ham United, Watford and Italian side Cagliari.

He joined Birmingham in December 2016, but quit four months later after a poor run of results.

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