Gianfranco Zola is one of the nicest men in soccer. Back in 2010, he was fired from his first managerial role at West Ham for no very good reason, because soccer often isn’t very nice.
But here’s a heartwarming Yuletide tale: after a year out of the game following his resignation from Watford, he’s been appointed as Cagliari boss. That’s a bit special, because the 48-year-old was born in Sardinia and ended his playing career on the chic Mediterranean island in 2005.
The club’s currently in Serie A’s bottom three. Zola’s first game will be away to Palermo on Jan. 6.
Of course, the flip-side to this romantic story is that there was a vacancy because someone else (Zdenek Zemen) got fired just before Christmas.
But let’s overlook that and recall Zola scoring one of the most insanely great goals in FA Cup history. A goal so great it caused him to be bear-hugged by an unsteady random bald man who was told to get lost by Graeme Le Saux.