Former assistant manager forced out of Chelsea as number two

Former Chelsea player and Maurizio Sarri’s assistant manager, Gianfranco Zola has left his role as assistant manager at Chelsea just hours after Frank Lampard was appointed the manager for the next three years.

The assistant tactician joined the Blues as a coach last summer to work with Maurizio Sarri as a member of his backroom staff aiding them to a third-place finish in the Premier League and Europa League win.

He previously represented the club as a player, making 312 appearances over a seven-year stint having previously turned down an offer to work for Chelsea in an ambassadorial capacity.

Lampard, also a former Blues player who was officially confirmed as the new Chelsea manager on Thursday, was given the opportunity to decide whether to keep him on in his backroom team but he brought in Jody Morris, who was his assistant at Derby County, and former Blues midfielder Eddie Newton.

The new Chelsea boss has also taken coach Chris Jones from the Rams and 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,’ 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.’

Zola, 52, has previously managed West Ham, Watford and Birmingham in England. There were rumours that he would move out to Juventus with his former manager, Maurizio Sarri.

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