Chelsea legend departs Stamford Bridge

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Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has left his role as assistant manager at Chelsea — just hours after Frank Lampard was appointed manager.

Zola returned to Chelsea last July to form part of Maurizio Sarri’s backroom staff. He played an important role assisting his compatriot as Sarri adapted to English football and Chelsea, and also on the training pitches at Cobham using his expertise gained over many years at the top of the game.

Zola, who made 312 appearances for Chelsea, turned down an offer to work for Chelsea in an ambassadorial capacity.

Newly appointed Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was given the opportunity to decide whether to keep him on in his backroom team.

It seems Lampard opted against having Zola in his backroom staff. Lampard brought in Jody Morris, who was his assistant at Derby County, and former Blues midfielder Eddie Newton.

Chris Jones also returned to Chelsea with Lampard from Derby while Lampard promoted Joe Edwards from the academy to work with the first-team.

Zola’s agent previously made it clear that he was keen to have another shot as a manager.

“Gianfranco’s contract with Chelsea expires at the end of the month,” Zola’s agent and lawyer, Fulvio Marrucco, said.

“After a season of hard work and fantastic results alongside Maurizio Sarri, he is ready to take the next step in his own management career.”

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