Former Italian international and Chelsea star Gianfranco Zola has been named as the new manager of Serie A club Cagliari. The 48-year-old replaces former boss Dzenek Zemen, who lost his job this week after leading the team to just a pair of wins in 16 games. The squad sits in 18th place in the 20-team league with two wins, six draws and eight losses for 12 points and are in the relegation zone. They’ve scored 21 goals and allowed 29. Zola also played for Cagliari during his illustrious career which spanned between 1984 and 2005.
Zemen of the Czech Republic took over the side in July, but the 67-year-old didn’t have much success at all and the team hasn’t managed a single home league victory all season long. The only teams below them in the Serie A standings are Parma and Cesena. Zemen was sacked by fellow Serie A side AS Roma in February after a nine-month stint which saw the team lose nine out of 23 matches. This caused many fans to ask why Cagliari would want to hire Zemen after such a dreadful managerial performance with Roma.
Zola takes over the squad when the players return to training following their short Christmas break. He will be assisted by Pierluigi Casiraghi, who was also an Italian international striker. Reports out of Italy stated that former Italian international goalkeeper Walter Zenga was also a candidate for the vacancy, but he pulled himself out of the running after meeting with club president Tommaso Guilini.
Zenga announced on his Twitter account, “I would like to thank president Tommaso Giulini and everyone at Cagliari for thinking of me, but with regret I am forced to decline. At the moment, for professional and personal reasons I intend to remain in Dubai.”
Zola wrapped up his pro career with Cagliari in 2005. He joined them two years earlier and scored 22 goals in 74 games with them. He had a total of 216 goals in 715 career club games and added 10 more in 35 appearances for Italy. Zola formerly managed English side West Ham from 2008 to 2010 and Watford from July of 2012 until December of 2013. His career winning percentage as a manager is 36.13.