Defender Kalidou Koulibaly recently chose 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 squad was supposed to be made up of players from the Premier League era only, excluding current Chelsea players.
They eventually opted for a 4-4-2 formation and easily picked early names like John Terry, Petr Cech and Branislav Ivanovic. However, a point of debate was the choice of Didier Drogba’s strike partner.
Gallagher and Sterling discussed it before naming Zola as their choice. However, Koulibaly threw another name into the mix. Sterling asked the centre-back if he had seen Zola play and he replied:
After being corrected that the England winger said Zola instead of Hasselbaink, Koulibaly said:
“Oh, Zola, I was thinking Hasselbaink because I was talking about it with him [Cucurella]. I know Zola. He comes from Napoli, he is the third from Napoli to Chelsea. Zola, Jorginho and me. It’s normal that I know him.”
“You’re going to get me in trouble now. I didn’t see Zola because I was a baby but Hasselbaink I remember because of my brother.
“He was watching Chelsea just for him because he was an amazing striker and he said to me ‘look, look at this striker’, so I put Hasselbaink I think because I saw him play.”
Sterling then rebutted saying:
“Zola was a goalscorer and a creator, Hasselbaink was just a pure goalscorer. It’s a different comparison.”
Sterling, Gallagher and Cucurella voted 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 made 306 appearances for Les Bleus, registering 76 goals and 23 assists. He was renowned for his free-kick prowess and all-around game.
Hasselbaink, meanwhile, has scored 87 goals and provided 23 assists in 177 appearances for the club.
Who will Chelsea play next?
Chelsea are currently seventh in the Premier League table and bottom of their UEFA Champions League group.
They next face Crystal Palace 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.