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Gianfranco Zola, warming up against Portsmouth. ©Richard Blake / CSR 34098 Tributes to Gianfranco Zola
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Club Career
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International Career

billy the bridge....       July 02, 2003 at 14:20

What can you say about a man who was as good off the pitch as he was on it !

Franco, may all your wishes come true.

You are and will always be more than a legend at The Bridge.

God bless you and your family, and thankyou for everything. I just feel like crying - but you can't stay forever, you have your family to think of.

Billy the Bridge

bjd       July 02, 2003 at 14:21

what a man!

all i can say is thank you franco, you have given me so much pleasure over the past 7 years, and in return you look as if you have enjoyed it all as much as well.

best of luck, you will NEVER be forgotten.

Lauren       July 02, 2003 at 14:27

Cant quite believe the news that Franco has gone - the greatest player to ever wear the Chelsea shirt. A gentleman on and off the pitch. I will miss the little man.

Jack       July 02, 2003 at 14:27

The best player to ever wear a Chelsea shirt. Had the honour of meeting the great man pre-season last July; he signed my boy's shirt and then asked to borrow his marker pen - to this day we still shout at each other 'whose got the marker, gimme the marker'! So many fantastic memories, too many to mention.

Thanks, Franco, you little genius, you litle magician! We'll miss you but will always be in our hearts.

Barn       July 02, 2003 at 14:28

The greatest foreigner in the history of the Premiership. Thanks for the memories Franco.

Scott       July 02, 2003 at 14:29

A million thanks are not enough, Franco Zola you are simply the best!! La La La La ZOLA

Dave       July 02, 2003 at 14:32

A Sad Day.

So many great Memories.
Taking the Piss out of Julien Dicks.
The semi final goal at Highbury.
The Norwich Goal.
And finally taking the Piss out of the Scousers in
the last Game.
A true Gentleman.

Come back and visit soon Franco

fraser       July 02, 2003 at 14:36

Don't know where to begin...

Really don't.

Only Chelsea player I have ever watched as an adult who made football seem as magical as it did when I was a child

midlandblue       July 02, 2003 at 14:36

Thank you sir, you are without doubt a man for all to admire and a talent for all to envy.
Goodbye to a genius.

Blakie       July 02, 2003 at 14:41

Franco, I just do not know what to say other than a million, million thanks for everything.

You are by far *the* best overseas player of all time both on and off the field. Having met you in person I can say, with all authority, that you are a true gentleman as well as the consumate professional.

As fans, we have been honoured by the way you wore the Blue Shirt. I have witnessed, first hand, opposition fans standing to applaud you. You have been, and will always be, loved by the Chelsea faithful and true football fans around the world.

I am so sorry that you have decided to go back to your homeland, but I wish you health and happiness amongst your own people.

Richard Blake

Pudge       July 02, 2003 at 14:50

Franco thanks for all the great memories not forgetting Stockholm.
Thanks also for your name which we gave to our son and which suits him just as much as it does you.
I hope some of the gentlemanly attributes have rubbed off on the youngsters who have had the pleasure of training, playing and watching you over the last 7 years.
We will never forget you and hopr that the no 25 shirt retires with you.

Arrivaderci Franco

Star       July 02, 2003 at 15:18

I'm not ashamed to say I cried when I heard the news .

You have without doubt been the greatest player i've seen in our beloved blue .

I went to my first game in 1967 , it took nearly 30 years for me to recognize a genius . Instantly it was you .

English football as a whole will be worse off without you . The game has few gentleman , you were the biggest of the lot . I hope you are honoured in some way , no-one can under estimate what you have done for Chelsea Football Club , it's followers , it's players , the Premiership .

I wish you health and happiness at home and look forward to a proper send off at Stamford Bridge .

I feel priveleged to have seen you play , you will go down in history as one of the world greats in my book .


Neil Parry , Scott Parry and my late father Donald Charles Parry .

Joel       July 02, 2003 at 15:33

Here is a man for whom superlatives don't seem quite enough. All of the skill, the flicks, the magical goals...very worthy of remembrance but above all the professionalism is what I'll remember. The way Franco carried himself was a model for athletes across the entire spectrum of sport.

I'm thanking my lucky stars that I made it over last season to see the genius in person, both at training and in a match. There will never be another Zola.

Thanks for all the memories and the staggering contribution to the club. Godspeed!

JMLim       July 02, 2003 at 15:46

There will never be another GIANFRANCO ZOLA.

Tambling       July 02, 2003 at 15:54

He had given his word and however much he wanted to stay, he is a "Man of Honour" surely the greatest to play football in this country and definitely the one who set the "Highest Standards" a pinnacle for others to try and strive towards. Thanks Franco for most of my fondest football memories. Myself and everyone I know, wish you and your family great health and happiness.

Phil       July 02, 2003 at 16:20

What a sad day.

Farewell to not only a great player but a great man - honoured, respected and loved by not only Chelsea fans but fans of other teams as well.

Franco, it has been a great pleasure and joy to watch you play.

Time to retire the No 25 shirt?

Giusy       July 02, 2003 at 16:27

Il Chelsea non ti dimenticherÓ per˛ ricordati che la Sardegna ti aspetta!!!

sid       July 02, 2003 at 16:31

Farewell to the greatest player ever to don the famous blue shirt,an example to all of what the game really stands for,passion,pride,joy, a shining to our youth,you will be sadly missed gianfranco but never forgotten! thanks for all those great memories,best wishes to you and your family,may you find happiness and peace back in your beloved homeland!.

Tea Bar Boy       July 02, 2003 at 16:33

Dear Franco ,

No matter how much it cost it was worth every penny to watch you play . You are without doubt the best Chelsea player of recent years . A true professional and gentleman on and off the pitch .You have given me so many happy memories it would be hard to pinpoint one as your definitive Chelsea moment . My favorite goals in no particular order .

Norwich at home from the corner . Only you could have pulled that off

Liverpool 4th round FA Cup . Top left hand curler from 25 yards . The goal you dream about scoring as a boy

Stuggart Cup Winners Cup Final . 1st touch of the ball and you score the winner

Wimbledon FA Cup semi final . Without doubt a sublime piece of skill I never get bored watching that goal .

My best wishes to you and your family enjoy the dolce vita and you can put your feet up and rest a bit more. I hope you take more than golf home with you from England . You will always be an Idol at Stamford Bridge and will have a very, very special place in our hearts ,

Tea Bar Boy

mad_mac       July 02, 2003 at 16:35

Honestly the BEST ever to have played at Chelsea. It is a sad day, but on another note it is good that he went out on top. His skills will forever be remembered, as will his passion for his club, the fans, young playesr, and the game of football. I only hope we can lure him back as a coach at some point, but alas that is too fantastic.
All the best Gianfranco.
Scott MacLean

Milesie       July 02, 2003 at 16:51

Good Luck and Goodbye God. You're one of those players that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when watching you. You epitomise everything that is great about football. You will never know how much we all love you and you will be sorely missed. Good luck in Italy.
We were so lucky to be able to watch you week in week out. Can anyone name another player that got a standing ovation form Galatasaray fans in Istanbul? Says it all.
Bye God.

Giusy       July 02, 2003 at 16:57

Caro Gianfranco (o Franco come ti chiamano qui),
ho appena appreso la notizia, dalla Gazzetta dello sport online, che hai firmato il contratto con il Cagliari. Sono molto felice!! Ma soprattutto sono felice e onorata, in quanto sarda, di leggere tutti questi magnifici "tributes to you" (alcuni sono veramente commoventi!!!). Sperando di poterti veder al Sant'Elia Ti auguro di cuore una magnifica stagione! Good Luck Gianfranco!

Jon       July 02, 2003 at 17:18

Goodbye Franco - Cheers for the memories.

g       July 02, 2003 at 17:26

the greatest

Tim W       July 02, 2003 at 17:33

I hope the youngsters at Chelsea have learnt from your example and that one day we can produce a player with half your skill, half your commitment and half your devotion. Your spirit will rule at the Bridge for many years to come.

Thank you for every second of your stay with us.

Tim W

Frank Watson       July 02, 2003 at 17:40

A true gent, who will never be forgotten. He played with a smile on his face, and he made sure we all wore one too. I wish you and your family all the best for the future, and I hope you wont be a stranger for too long. "One Franco Zola, theres only one Franco Zola".

geezer       July 02, 2003 at 18:29

You are without doubt the greatest player I have had the pleasure of watching. It is with an extremely heavy heart that I bid you farewell and may all your dreams and hopes come true. You certainly made so many of mine come true. Chelsea and English football will be all the sadder for not having you around anymore.
You are a God and therefore Sardinia must be heaven for that is where you long to be.
Do come back to see us so that we can give you the sort of goodbye you so deserve. How about a friendly against Cagliari at the Bridge?? It will sell out many times over.

Just       July 02, 2003 at 18:32


Thank you forever.

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