Defender Kalidou Koulibaly recently picked Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink over Gianfranco Zola in his all-time Chelsea XI from the Premier League era.
Koulibaly was joined by Raheem Sterling, Marc Cucurella, and Conor Gallagher as they picked the Blues’ all-time XI (via football.london). The team was supposed to be made up of players from only the Premier League era, excluding the current Chelsea players.
They eventually decided on a 4-4-2 formation and picked up the first few names like John Terry, Petr Cech, and Branislav Ivanovic easily. However, one point of the debate was selecting the strike partner for Didier Drogba.
Gallagher and Sterling discussed it before naming Zola as their pick. However, Koulibaly threw another name in the mix. Sterling asked the centre-back if he had seen Zola play and he replied:
After being corrected that the English winger said Zola instead of Hasselbaink, Koulibaly said:
“Oh, Zola, I thought Hasselbaink because I was talking about it with him [Cucurella]. I know Zola. He comes from Napoli, he’s the third one that’s come from Napoli to Chelsea. Zola, Jorginho and me. It’s normal that I know him.”
“You’re gonna put me in trouble now. I didn’t see Zola because I was a baby but Hasselbaink I remember because of my brother.
“He was looking at Chelsea just for him bec ause he was an amazing striker and he tells me ‘look, look at that striker’ so I put Hasselbaink I think because I saw him play.”
Sterling then refuted, saying:
“Zola was a goalscorer and a creator, Hasselbaink was just a pure goalscorer. It’s a different comparison.”
Sterling, Gallagher and Cucurella voted in Zola for their team as the final team read in a 4-4-2 formation:
Petr Cech; John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ricardo Carvalho, Ashley Cole; Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard, Claude Makelele, Joe Cole; Didier Drogba, Gianfranco Zola
Zola played 306 matches for the Blues, registering 76 goals and 23 assists. He was renowned for his prowess from free-kicks and his all-round play.
Hasselbaink, meanwhile, scored 87 goals and provided 23 assists in 177 matches for the club.
Who do Chelsea play next?
Chelsea are currently seventh in the Premier League table and at the bottom of their UEFA Champions League group.
They will next take on Crystal Palace away on Saturday, October 1, in what will be Graham Potter’s first Premier League game in charge of the Blues.
They will then host AC Milan in the Champions League on October 5 before hosting Wolverhampton Wanderers in the league on October 8.