GettyImages-647571010
during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Leeds United at St Andrews (stadium) on March 3, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

Former Chelsea forward Gianfranco Zola has returned to the club as an assistant to  new manager Maurizio Sarri

The ex-Italian striker became a legend at Stamford Bridge in his time at the club between 1996-2003 and won two FA Cups, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Super Cup and one League Cup.

Now 15 years after his departure, Zola has made a return to his beloved Chelsea.

He told the club website: “For me, it is an amazing thing. I am very willing to work hard because it is going to be a difficult challenge but I am pleased to be here.”

Zola will assist his compatriot Sarri at Chelsea this season following former Napoli boss’ appointment last weekend after Antonio Conte was finally removed from his post following a disappointing second campaign in charge.

“It would be great to be successful with Maurizio and for the club and I will give my best, as I did in the past as a player, so I will give my best in my new position,” said Zola.

“I am very much looking forward to the challenge in general. I would love us to start well and we are all very excited to start this new adventure.”

Zola had previous managerial spells at West Ham United, Watford and Serie A side Cagliari.

The 52-year-old had made 312 appearances for Chelsea in his seven-year spell as a player and scored 80 goals.