Chelsea’s club legend and prolific goalscorer Gianfranco Zola has lifted the lid on his departure from the Blues to join Italian side Cagliari back in 2003.
Zola, now retired, joined Chelsea in 1997 from AC Parma in a move which cost the London side just £5.85m, as per Transfermarkt.
The Italian stayed for with Chelsea for five and a half years and featured in a total of 300 matches in all competitions, scoring 74 goals along the way.
Zola became a Premier League icon and was nicknamed “Magic box” after his unique goalscoring ability helped propel the Blues to five trophies including two FA Cups.
Chelsea’s former marksman was offered a one-year contract extension before current owner Roman Abramovich took charge of the club but turned the offer down and opted for a return back to Italy instead.
Despite a hugely successful spell with Chelsea, Zola has admitted that he would leave the ‘a thousand times’ in favour of Cagliari.
Speaking live on Cagliari Live IT TV (relayed by Calcio Castedu and via Sports Witness) the former striker said: “From Chelsea to Cagliari as a player? I’d do it a thousand times, but training was a gamble.
“The move from Chelsea was not difficult at all, also because I arrived there with the right spirit and the right idea.
“I had a great motivation, that is to play in the team of my region, for which I cheered as a kid. I strongly wanted to do well in the club and end my career in the rossoblù.”
If you’re a Chelsea fan, do you understand why Zola would have left when he did, or do you think he should have stayed longer? – Let us know in the comments.