The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cagliari challenge excites Zola

London: Gianfranco Zola said Monday that no blame should be attached to Chelsea for his departure and that he is excited by the challenge of his new club Cagliari.

Zola, who turned 37 Saturday, agreed to move to the Italian Serie B club, from his home island of Sardinia, last week after failing to secure a new contract at Chelsea.

Hours after announcing his departure Chelsea revealed the takeover by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich and Zola said that those negotiations overshadowed his. “Chelsea were in a bad situation and we couldn’t find an agreement,” he told a news conference.

Zola revealed he had reluctantly rejected a last-minute offer to stay at the Premier League club. “On the second of July they made me a better offer,” Zola said. “But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t change my mind, it was too late, unfortunately. I must say it’s been hard.

“I had a lot of offers and when it got to July 1, when my contract ran out, I decided to go.

“But I don’t blame Chelsea at all, they had things more important to worry about than renewing my contract.”

Of his move to Sardinia, he said: “More than anything else it’s a choice of life. It’s my own place and I want go back where I started from. It makes me feel alive. The idea of putting myself on the line again makes me feel good again.” (Reuters)

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