Happy Birthday: Gianfranco Zola, Pierre Villepreux, Stiliyan Petrov

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(L-R)) Pierre Villepreux, Gianfranco Zola, Stiliyan Petrov.

Greatness comes in a small package when it comes to the Italian football icon, who was born on this day 50 years ago. Despite standing at only 5ft 6 in, Zola’s ebullience and outstanding genius shone through during an incredible – and lengthy – playing career.

He shone as a free-roaming forward for clubs such as Napoli, Parma, Chelsea and his beloved Cagliari, his supreme talents not fully exemplified by his tally of just 35 international caps.

Zola came to prominence alongside Diego Maradona at Napoli, lifting the 1989/90 Serie A title. But ‘Magic Box’ left his biggest impression at Chelsea, for whom he was voted the club’s greatest ever player in 2003.

His incredible spell in London saw him score 80 goals in 309 appearances, the highlight coming with his winning goal in the 1997/98 Cup Winners’ Cup final.

1943: Pierre Villepreux, former France full-back who also coached Italy rugby union side from 1978-81 (73) .

1979: Stiliyan Petrov, ex-Bulgaria midfielder training once again with Aston Villa after cancer treatment (37).

1979: Amelie Mauresmo, French tennis star who won Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 2006 (37).

1989: Dejan Lovren, Croatia and Liverpool centre-back who has 31 international caps (27).

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Happy Birthday – July 3 – Harbhajan, Vettel, Grigg

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On fire: Will Grigg.

Becoming a major story at Euro 2016 without even taking the pitch is a considerable achievement and Northern Ireland’s Will Grigg, 25 on June 3, can rest easy knowing his tournament will not be forgotten easily.

Grigg, Wigan’s top-scorer in promotion this past campaign, has shot to wider fame courtesy of a chant in his honour which has quickly become known across Europe thanks to his selection for the competition.

Ahead of their group stage clash, Germany defender Mads Hummels confirmed that even the opposition were fully aware of Grigg’s fame among fans at the competition.

Why wouldn’t he be famous, though? After all, it’s not often a football player is on fire heading into a major tournament!

Other birthdays:

1970: Teemu Selanne, Finnish retired NHl player who was a 10-time All-Star and Stanley Cup champion (46).
1980: Harbhajan Singh, Indian cricketer who has the second-most Test wickets by an o -spinner (36).
1987: Sebastian Vettel, German Formula One driver for Ferrari and four-time world champion with Red Bull (29).

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Quotes of the week: Messi quits, Hodgson hasn't got a clue

Elsewhere, former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann deems the Premier League 'average' and inferior to the German and Spanish leagues.

Meanwhile, Conor McGregor is not impressed with 'American term' trash talk and says he just speaks the truth.

What got you talking this week and which is your favourite quote?

Share with us your thoughts by commenting below or using #360fans across social media.

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