Gianfranco Zola ended his football playing career in 2005, concluding his time with Cagliari in his hometown of Sardinia after two seasons. He had previously retired from international play in 1998.
Zola’s football journey began in 1984 when he joined the Sardinian team Nuorese before making a move to the Sassari-based club Torres.
Born on July 5, 1966, the player signed with Napoli in 1989, marking a significant step in his career.
During his time at Napoli, Gianfranco Zola developed a strong friendship with the legendary Diego Maradona, who played a pivotal role in shaping Zola’s career.
In 1993, Zola made a move to Parma, where he achieved significant success, including winning the 1993 UEFA Super Cup and the 1995 UEFA Cup.
His journey continued when he joined the UK side Chelsea in 1996, remaining with the club until 2003. During his tenure with Chelsea in the Premier League, Zola played a crucial part in their victories, securing titles such as the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, and the League Cup.
In 2003, he received the prestigious title of Chelsea’s greatest-ever player.
As a forward, he made 229 appearances for the London club and scored 59 goals.
Subsequently, Zola embarked on a new chapter in his career when he joined Cagliari in the summer of 2003, where he remained until his retirement.
Gianfranco Zola also proudly represented Italy’s national team. He earned his debut cap in 1991, facing Norway, and went on to accumulate 35 caps while representing his country.
Among his international experiences, Zola participated in the 1994 World Cup in the United States. Unfortunately, he was unable to play in the final match due to a previous tournament suspension. Italy, however, finished as runners-up after a defeat to Brazil in the final. Additionally, Zola contributed to Italy’s campaign in the 1996 European Championship.
Which teams has Gianfranco Zola coached?
Gianfranco Zola embarked on his coaching career in 2006 with the Italy under-21s.
In the role of assistant coach, he and Pierluigi Casiraghi jointly led the team to the quarter-finals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In 2008, Zola took on a coaching role with the Premier League club West Ham United.
Following his West Ham stint, Zola assumed the position of manager at Watford from July 2012 to December 2013.
Subsequently, from December 2014 to March 2015, he managed his former Italian team, Cagliari.
Zola ventured into coaching abroad, spending a season with the Qatari team Al-Arabi before transitioning to Birmingham City in 2016.
In July 2018, he made a return to one of his previous clubs, Chelsea, serving as an assistant to manager Maurizio Sarri.
However, Zola departed in 2019 after Frank Lampard was appointed as the head coach.
Is Gianfranco Zola married and does he have children?
Gianfranco is married to Francesca Zola, formerly known as Francesca Secci.
The couple shares three children, including their son Andrea, born on January 7, 1991, who pursued a football career and played for Grays Athletic and the West Ham United reserves. He retired from professional football in 2011.
In a noteworthy development, their daughter Martina made her professional martial arts debut at Polaris 24, a prestigious jiu-jitsu event, in June 2023.
What is Gianfranco Zola’s net worth?
Gianfranco has an estimated net worth of around $30million (almost £24million).