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Former Chelsea player, Gianfranco Zola, will be made an honorary member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to British football, the British embassy has revealed.

The ambassador will present the striker with the award on behalf of Queen Elizabeth at a ceremony in Rome on Monday.

In a statement, the British embassy called Zola “the most enduring and popular foreign player in the history of Chelsea Football Club” and praised his work for charities.

Zola left Chelsea to play for Cagliari in his native Sardinia att the end of the 2002-03 season. He scored80 goals and help the club win six trophies during his seven seasons.

“The 2002-2003 season was his last with Chelsea, and he left the club with style, scoring 16 goals,” the embassy said.

“Despite the pleas of fans to remain with the team, he decided to return to his native Sardinia in 2003, having made a remarkable contribution to English football.”

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