The Dugout - 60 seconds with Gianfranco Zola
Which 70s TV legend does Gianfranco Zola most resemble? The man himself reveals all...
What's your earliest sporting memory?
When I'd just started playing football many years ago, I remember watching Serie A on the TV for 40 minutes every week. I was growing up in a small village in the middle of Sardinia with no access to big teams around me, so the only opportunity I had for seeing high-level football was watching the television once a week. They showed the second half of the best game in Serie A that Sunday - and I used to love it. I took in every detail - if a player on the pitch was itching his nose, I'd have noticed it.
If you hadn't been a footballer, what career would you have had instead?
I don't know. I've never been anything else in my mind except a footballer - don't ask me because I don't know. This is a question that many people have asked me and I've never been able to provide a good answer. I honestly don't know.
Who's the best player you've ever been on a pitch with?
Diego Maradona. I played with him in Naples in 1989 and 1990. Amazing.
What was your first car?
It was blue Renault 5.
What's on your iPod?
I like a lot of Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, and a lot of classical music.
If you were going to sing a song at karaoke, what would it be?
I'd sing "L'emozione non ha voce". It's an Italian song sung by a singer called Adriano Celentano.
What's the nicest place you've ever visited?
Ooh... The Maldives were fantastic. And the Cayman Islands. Another place that's great, that's not a beach place, is Tromso, up in Norway, where I went with Chelsea. It was an amazing village. Amazing.
I think I remember that one. Is that the game when it snowed really, really hard?
Yes, that's the one.
Have you ever been mistaken for anybody else famous?
Er, yes - do you know the actor who was Fonzie from Happy Days? What's his name...? Oh, Henry Winkler. One day I turned up at the training ground in a black leather jacket like Fonzie used to wear, and all the players shouted, "Hey! It's Fonzie! How you doing?"
If you could throw a dinner party for any three people in history, dead or alive, who would they be?
One for sure would be my father. Then Diego Maradona, who has been such an important person and respected player for me. And the third would be my wife.
Okay - and what would you cook?
That's the problem: obviously I care about all three of them so much that I wouldn't want to send them to hospital (with my cooking)! So I'd be best to keep it very, very simple: a nice plate of spaghetti pomodoro e basilico. It's a very simple recipe, but if you have the right oil and the right tomatoes it's unbelievable - and it's very easy to cook, which is probably the main reason I'd do it!
Sounds delicious. Thank you very much!
Gianfranco Zola was speaking to Yahoo!’s ‘The Dugout' through its partnership with the League Managers Association