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I want to be Chelsea manager - but not just yet, says Zola

Italian wants to take over at old club after Abramovich twice asked him to return, he tells Andy Hunter

GianfrancoZola_getty_BenRadford.jpg

He remains Chelsea's most celebrated asset five years after his final game for the club, he is a friend of Roman Abramovich, one who shares the Russian's longing for the beautiful game, and is a man with an ambition to manage at Stamford Bridge. It will therefore relieve Avram Grant to discover Gianfranco Zola does not consider himself qualified for the post. Not yet, anyhow.Were it not for the suspicion that the Italian is too nice for the cut-throat world of top level management, one that forced Grant to concede his tenure could be over this summer if he fails to win the Champions League or Premier League, few romantics at the Bridge would oppose the coronation of the man voted

their greatest player. Certainly not Abramovich who, perhaps mindful of the broad appeal that Zola continues to resonate and his club continues to lack, has made several attempts to employ the 41-year-old since buying the club just days after the striker brought his own Chelsea career to an end.Abramovich has been rebuffed each time he has approached Zola with a job offer and the reason given suggests the current Italy Under-21 assistant coach may have the single-mindedness to succeed after all. "We didn't discuss the capacity, he just wanted the man," he explains.

Zola was speaking in Milan at this week's launch of La Gazzetta dello Sport's English-language website where, even in the company of the Italy national manager Roberto Donadoni and the Under-21 coach Pierluigi Casiraghi, his popularity was unrivalled. Zola the fledgling manager looks no different to Zola the player and his affection for Chelsea has not altered since he honoured a commitment to end his playing career with Cagliari, a decision that led Abramovich to consider purchasing the Sardinian club in the hope of enticing its figurehead back to west London. Despite the rejections, Zola maintains a long-term ambition to return to Chelsea, though as manager and not simply as a club adornment.

"I would be crazy to say no," is his response to the prospect. "Let's put it this way, one day I would like to be good enough to manage Chelsea. It is in my heart. Mr Abramovich has been very good to me and asked me a couple of times to go back to Chelsea to work but what's the point of going there and not having anything to do for the club? The way I see it is that I want to go there when I know I can give something back to the club.

"I have been working for just one year, not as a manager but as an assistant to Casiraghi, so I can't really say I am good enough to be the manager of one of the best teams in Europe. I need to improve and my experience with the Under-21s has been very good. I have learned a lot in a year and a half and I hope I will carry on this way."

Last year Zola went on record as saying he felt Grant's appointment was a short-term measure and though he sympathises with the manager's problems - "In 1997 I would be playing against a Southampton team who were maybe fighting relegation and they would play an open game at Stamford Bridge. Now most teams have ten men sitting behind the ball," he reasons - the Italian insists there is a responsibility on Chelsea to entertain.

However, Zola, who remains in regular contact with Abramovich, John Terry and Carlo Cudicini, insists he has had no indication the Russian has given up on Grant at a time when, despite the club's FA Cup humiliation at Barnsley last weekend, Chelsea have moved to within five points of leaders Arsenal with a game in hand.

"As far as I know, he seems quite calm. Apparently," admitted Zola. "If I was Roman Abramovich and spending so much money obviously I would ask for something back. Probably I would want to win or at least try to win and get close. That would be my first idea. It seems that every time I speak to him or look at him on TV he looks quite relaxed. He looks to win but he also wants to see good football. He enjoys good football and I think he wants to be entertained. There's nothing wrong with that.

"I have always approached my job that way too. I don't go on the pitch just to win. I know there are people watching and they want to enjoy the game. As much as possible I try to get the balance. To get the results and also make it enjoyable."

SOURCE - Guardian

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I doubt we'd be that bothered lol.Mean Newcastle fans are still wooo Keegan.He keeps Clarke with him then volia.And aww he can run around the pitch every half time lol and we can sing at him and awwww

Was looking forward to seeing him in the Charity match that never happened lol this be even better

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I would give steve clarke a chance before zola i just think he deserves it.

I dunno, we need to have the best managers here (i know we don't at the moment but i think everyone wants him gone!!) which is why Zola says he is not ready and why he wouldn't do the job till he feels he is good enough....

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I dunno, we need to have the best managers here (i know we don't at the moment but i think everyone wants him gone!!) which is why Zola says he is not ready and why he wouldn't do the job till he feels he is good enough....

spot on i cant see him risking coaching a big 4 club if he has never managed before because he does not have the experince as of yet and we need someone who has coached in a big league before such as lippi

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spot on i cant see him risking coaching a big 4 club if he has never managed before because he does not have the experince as of yet and we need someone who has coached in a big league before such as lippi

Avram Grant? :whistling:

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Avram Grant?

yes but we dont want to see the same type of coaching of someone who is not experinced dont get me wrong im more than 100% sure that zola would be more intelligent than avram but still id prefer someone in charge who has coached for a bit

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