Chelsea legend on Mikel Obi: ‘Unfortunately, we didn’t play together’

Chelsea legend on Mikel Obi: ‘Unfortunately, we didn’t play together’
Credit: Icon Sport

Speaking on Episode 6 of the Obi One Podcast, John Mikel Obi alongside renowned sports broadcaster Chris McHardy, both chatted candidly to Chelsea legendary forward Gianfranco Zola.

Mikel Obi said Zola was loved at Chelsea because of “the technique he brought, the expertise that makes fans jump on their feet.”

The former Nigerian captain also pointed out how the now 57-year-old Chelsea legend proved everyone wrong after he joined Chelsea to clear doubts on those who initially thought the Italian would struggle in a fast-paced Premier League.

Gianfranco Zola on not playing with Mikel Obi

The Blues' legend expressed his disappointment at not being able to play with the retired Chelsea defensive midfielder.

“Unfortunately, we didn't play together. I belonged to the previous generation, and obviously I can't complain, it's been a great time for me,” said Zola.

The man regarded as the greatest player to ever play for Chelsea said he ‘admired John' and that he was a fan of the player, giving his satisfaction on all the Nigerian has done while at Stamford Bridge.

“I saw John play, I was a fan of him, because he was the type of midfielder that I used to like a lot then and I'm very pleased for all the contribution that he has given to the club.”

Chelsea legend, Gianfranco Zola
Credit: Icon Sport

Zola on his time at Chelsea and the relationship with the fans

The revered Chelsea forward also stated about his stay at Chelsea and the love and acceptance he had with the fans. He said, “I enjoyed my time and relationship with them.”

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During Zola's days at Chelsea, he helped the London side to win four trophies and scored the winner in the 1998 European Cup Winners' Cup Final within seconds after coming on as a substitute.

In over seven seasons with the Blues, Zola captivated Chelsea supporters with his astonishing performances and his knack for great goals.

He won the club's Player of the Year award twice, and was voted as the club's greatest ever player in 2023, receiving 60% of the votes in a poll conducted on Chelsea's official website.

Overall, the Italian scored 80 goals in 312 appearances for Chelsea with many of those goals being spectacular efforts.

Zola left Chelsea in 2003 as he signed for Cagliari in his home country, Italy, where he went on to make more memorable records.

In 2023, he is currently in charge as the vice president of the Lega Pro, the Serie C football league in Italy.

This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago

Joseph is a graduate engineer turned sports writer, he has covered lots of sports stories, match previews and predictions across various leagues on the planet.