Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola is delighted seeing former teammate Antonio Conte thriving as Blues manager.

The two men know each other well having been opponents many times during their playing days in Italy. When Zola’s Parma faced Conte’s Juventus in the 1990s, there was always plenty at stake.

“We had a few big games against them and they were always high-level matches because we were playing for trophies and the top spots,” the Birmingham City manager recalled to

“Antonio was one of those people you never wanted to play against because he was tough and he would never give up. He was the type of player you would always respect because you can only admire the character and personality of players like that.

“I also played with him for the national team at the 1994 World Cup. He was a good team-mate and when you had him alongside you on the pitch you always knew you could rely on him. It’s important to have players like that in the team, they make a side more solid and more together.”