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Olympics2000

Wednesday, 16 August, 2000, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Zola staying with the Blues
Zola says he is surprised at his own good form
Zola: Set to stay at Chelsea
Gianfranco Zola has laughed off speculation that he is set to leave Chelsea, claiming that he wants to spend at least another year at Stamford Bridge.

The 34-year-old striker, who has been constantly linked with a 3m switch to Napoli over the last few days, said: "I'm staying at Chelsea this year.

"What has happened is I talked to an Italian journalist and told him about everything that was happening and how I felt about constant talk in Italy that Napoli want me to go there.


I am a man of my word, I gave Chelsea a promise that I would stay here this season and I am going to honour that promise.
  Gianfranco Zola
"He reported what I told him but left out the most important part - that I was talking about how I felt over two months ago.

Unhappy

"Then I was unhappy as I want my children to grow up in Italy and there was a chance I would go back but I spoke with Colin and Luca then and everything was sorted out by them and I'm now very very happy to stay."

Zola added: "I am a man of my word, I gave Chelsea a promise that I would stay here this season and I am going to honour that promise.

"I hope this means all the rumours can be closed now as I only want to leave Chelsea with a Premiership medal in my pocket.

"I've had four wonderful years at Chelsea and I've enjoyed all of them. I wouldn't change any of it. I think I am a much better player and a better man than when I arrived four years ago.

"I gave my word I'd stay and I'll respect that and I'll give all my best to help Chelsea win the title this season. Longer term I want my family in Italy and I do have another year on my contract after this season but we'll have see, all that is for the future."

"For the moment I'm staying at Chelsea and I'm really happy about it."

Puzzled

Managing director Colin Hutchinson, who was puzzled by the reports at the weekend, said: "He gave me his word and over four years we've built up a huge amount of trust and respect between each other.

"I was not really concerned when I saw the newspapers this morning. I felt the papers went way over the top."

"Someone asked me recently which was the best signing I'd been involved with this summer and it took me all of about five seconds to say Gianfranco Zola, it's great news he's staying."

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See also:

15 Aug 00 |  Chelsea
Leboeuf in dock as Zenden waits
13 Aug 00 |  Chelsea
Chelsea to focus on Premiership
11 Aug 00 |  Chelsea
Chelsea must get tough - Vialli
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