Premier League giants Chelsea have this evening confirmed that Gianfranco Zola has departed the club.

Lampard returns

On the back of weeks of rampant speculation, the Chelsea board finally confirmed club legend Frank Lampard’s appointment as the Blues’ new manager earlier today:

41-year-old Lampard was brought in to replace Maurizio Sarri, after the Italian tactician departed Stamford Bridge for Serie A champions Juventus last month.

The former midfielder, who remains Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer, has just a solitary campaign in management under his belt, after leading Derby County to the Championship playoff final in 2018/19.

LEEDS, ENGLAND – MAY 15: Frank Lampard, Manager of Derby County celebrates victory following the Sky Bet Championship Play-off semi final second leg match between Leeds United and Derby County at Elland Road on May 15, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

And ‘Lamps’ will no doubt have his work cut out for him next season.

The Blues are of course in the midst of a two-window FIFA-imposed transfer ban, meaning Christian Pulisic will be the only new face lining out in the club’s colours next season (Mateo Kovacic’s loan move from Real Madrid was also made permanent).

In addition, Chelsea star man Eden Hazard finally completed his dream move to La Liga giants Real Madrid already this summer.

Cech & Makelele return

While the Londoners look set on the player front, though, the backroom staff set to oversee proceedings at Chelsea over the coming 12 months is still taking shape.

Petr Cech has already returned to Stamford Bridge in a technical and performance advisor role, while fellow club legend Claude Makelele is also expected to join the Blues’ setup for next season.

Zola departs

One former Chelsea star who will not be part of Lampard’s staff, however, is Gianfranco Zola.

In an announcement across the club’s social media platforms a short time ago, the capital giants confirmed that Zola, who acted as Maurizio Sarri’s assistant last season, will not return to partner Lampard:

‘Everybody at Chelsea would like to thank Gianfranco for his contribution to a successful season at the Bridge and we wish him the very best of luck in the next chapter of his career. He will of course always be welcome back.’

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