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Former Chelsea attacker Gianfranco Zola brands coronavirus "evil"

Gianfranco Zola brands coronavirus
© Reuters
Former Chelsea player Gianfranco Zola describes the coronavirus as "evil" and suggests that the UK needs to take stronger measures to combat the spread of the virus

Former Chelsea striker Gianfranco Zola has branded COVID-19 "evil" as the sporting world continues to fall victim to the virus.

The coronavirus outbreak has seen leagues and tournaments from a variety of sports across the world suspended in the past week, and Blues winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is among those to have contracted the virus.

In the midst of the pandemic, Zola has spoken strongly about the measures being taken to ensure safety, as his native Italy remains one of the worst-affected countries.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Zola said: "Coronavirus is sly, dark evil. It can strike us even without realising it. The danger of contagion is real for everyone.

"My former player Hudson-Odoi has tested positive. That shows no-one is or can be considered immune. Exposing yourself means putting others at risk.

"Also in Serie A, some clubs and various players, from Rugani to Vlahovic and others, are in quarantine. I hope that here too they take more steps on prevention and safety.

"Now is the time for responsibility, both individually and collectively. Nevertheless, it seems to me they are under-estimating the situation here. It is not about creating fear, but we are dealing with a pandemic.

"Here in London I see pubs, restaurants and shops open. The squares and the streets are crowded and everything seems normal. And instead we are experiencing one of the most difficult periods of time since the post-war period.

"We need patience. In Italy I read and I see that they are doing good things and in the correct time. There are now other priorities to defend."

Zola scored a total of 80 goals in 311 appearances for Chelsea between 1996 and 2003.

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