The Italian Almanac

Gianfranco Zola

Italian Sport - June 29

Former Chelsea and Italy striker Gianfranco Zola has quit the game, a week before his 39th birthday.

Zola had a fine season in Serie A with Cagliari, leading to speculation he might play on for another 12 months. But the former Napoli and Parma star, a legend at Stamford Bridge, has confirmed he will now retire. He said: "It was not an easy decision, but I felt an ever stronger desire to dedicate myself to things that I have neglected over these years."

Zola, who moved to Stamford Bridge from Parma for 4.5m in 1996, played for Chelsea for seven years but returned to Italy to finish his career with Cagliari. He scored 80 goals and helped the club win six trophies during his seven seasons at Stamford Bridge.