Quotes on: Gianfranco Zola

“‘The magician’ did things with the ball I’ve never seen before or since. Had brilliant technique and incredible balance, almost a carbon copy of Maradona, with whom he played at Napoli. His free-kicks were extraordinary. A true artist, who could show you things you didn’t know about the game, and the perfect foil for a big, strong striker.”
— Brian Laudrup

“I played against him a few times and he is one of the best imports our game has seen. So skilful, yet so committed. He was a credit to the Premier League.”
— Les Ferdinand

“If you want me to name just one who really inspired and helped me then it would be Gianfranco Zola. I came to Chelsea as quite a shy boy and it was for a big fee [ . . . ]. Zola took me under his wing. He was 35 and established as a world-class player, and I was fascinated by the way he trained, practised his free-kicks daily and was always the last on the training ground. He was a gentleman off the pitch and I thought that was how I’d like to be if I could ever get anywhere near what he’s done in the game.”
Frank Lampard

“Little Franco was (…) a brilliant No.10 who would open teams up with a simple but deadly pass.”
— Ray Parlour

“I could never tell where he was going to shoot – unplayable and read the game like no other.”
Peter Schmeichel

“The best I ever played with, no doubt. 
I used to marvel at him in training each day. Gianfranco made you a better player: he knew what I was going to 
do before I’d even thought of it.”
— Gus Poyet

“What a phenomenon. So much quality, an eye for goal and a great brain. One of the greatest deep-lying forwards of all time despite being even shorter than me, though that’s something he always argued about! I remember one goal he scored against Norwich,  a back-heeled volley between his legs direct from a corner. Typical Gianfran.”
— Albert Ferrer

“Little Gianfranco Zola… he annoyed me. He was one of these players who was unperturbed about who he was playing against. He always seemed to have a smile on his face and that annoyed me. How can he be enjoying himself playing against United? Nobody else does. He was a fantastic player and I loved watching him. It was enjoyable and for me to say that about an opponent tells you how much I admired him.”
Sir Alex Ferguson

“Gianfranco tries everything because he is a wizard and the wizard must try.”
 Claudio Ranieri
(after Zola’s back-heeled volley against Norwich)

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