Brexit could see foreign players stay away, Zola warns

Picture Supplied by Action Images

Zola is still widely regarded as one of the Premier League's most successful foreign players ever, but fears Brexit may cause others to stay away.

Picture Supplied by Action ImagesZola is one of the most successful foreign players in Premier League history

Former Chelsea and Italy star Gianfranco Zola has told that he fears the UK's decision to leave the European Union could hinder the Premier League's ability to attract foreign players.

Zola arrived at Stamford Bridge from Parma in 1996, eventually going on to establish himself as one of the Premier League's most successful foreign imports, scoring 59 league goals to write his name into Chelsea folklore.

Paul Ince - England wearing a blood stained shirt as he watches Gianfranco Zola - Italy

The success of Zola, who is still a firm fan favourite in west London, and other foreign players is widely credited as a key reason for the success of the Premier League, which is now one of the most marketable brands in world sport.

However, with Britain choosing to leave the EU by way of Thursday's referendum, Zola believes it could become more difficult for players on the continent to exercise their freedom of movement and earn a move to England's top flight.

Gianfranco Zola - West Ham United Manager

“It is inevitable it will affect the football world,” the Italian told Goal. “It will be more difficult to come and play here for a lot of footballers and it could cause problems taking into account that clubs from other countries now may have a slight advantage.

Italy head coach Antonio Conte

“In any case, we are talking about something so important it will cause a shock in every world market, not just in England.”

Zola's comments come ahead of compatriot Antonio Conte's arrival at Stamford Bridge, where he will hope to try to turn the Blues into a force capable of challenging for the title once more.

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