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“The most annoying player I faced was from Chelsea” — Ferguson



"The most annoying player I faced was from Chelsea" -- Ferguson

Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that former Chelsea star Gianfranco Zola was the most ‘annoying’ yet ‘fantastic’ player he faced during his illustrious tenure at Old Trafford.

Throughout his glittering career at Manchester United, Ferguson encountered numerous footballing talents in the Premier League and beyond. Leading the Red Devils to an incredible 13 Premier League titles, Ferguson’s battles with rivals such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City became the stuff of legends.

Ferguson singled out the diminutive Italian forward, Zola, as the player who both irritated and impressed him the most. Despite the annoyance, Ferguson showered Zola with high praise, calling him ‘fantastic’ and ‘brave.’

“Now, little Zola, he annoyed me. He was one of those players who was unperturbed about who he was playing against,” Ferguson said.

“He always seemed to have a smile on his face and that annoyed me. I said, ‘How can he be enjoying himself playing against United? Nobody else does.'”

Gianfranco Zola departs Chelsea | News | Official Site | Chelsea Football  Club

Ferguson reminisced about an FA Cup clash that underscored his respect for Zola’s talents.

“He was fantastic. Talented. Beautiful balance. Brave. I remember we played Chelsea in the FA Cup a couple of years ago during the treble. We got them in the early rounds, and we drew 0-0 at Old Trafford, and I man-marked him,” Ferguson recounted.

“That’s how much respect I had for him. But he was a fantastic player. I loved watching him. He was enjoyable. That was the thing, for me to say that of an opponent tells you how much I admire them.”

Gianfranco Zola, who spent seven spectacular seasons at Stamford Bridge, made 311 appearances and scored 80 goals for Chelsea. His time at the club saw him win two FA Cups and one Football League Cup. Zola’s influence extended beyond his playing days, as he returned to Chelsea as a member of Maurizio Sarri’s coaching staff in 2018 and had managerial stints with West Ham, Watford, and Birmingham.