Soccer

Palace boss Roy Hodgson ‘really sad’ to lose Wilfried Zaha to Galatasaray

Roy Hodgson, left, paid tribute to Wilfried Zaha (John Walton/PA)
Roy Hodgson, left, paid tribute to Wilfried Zaha (John Walton/PA) Roy Hodgson, left, paid tribute to Wilfried Zaha (John Walton/PA)

Roy Hodgson lamented the loss of an “iconic figure” at Crystal Palace after Wilfried Zaha left the club to join Turkish giants Galatasaray.

Zaha was a free agent after the expiry of his Crystal Palace contract and had revealed he was in Istanbul for talks, having reportedly turned down a £200,000-a-week offer to remain at Selhurst Park.

Earlier this week, he took to Instagram to confirmed his exit from Palace, the club he joined when he was 12 and scored 90 goals in 458 appearances, describing their shirt as his “second skin”.

Wilfried Zaha scored 90 goals in 458 games for Crystal Palace (Nick Potts/PA)
Wilfried Zaha scored 90 goals in 458 games for Crystal Palace (Nick Potts/PA) Wilfried Zaha scored 90 goals in 458 games for Crystal Palace (Nick Potts/PA)

After Galatasaray announced Zaha had signed a three-year deal worth an annual £3.75million, Hodgson expressed his disappointment at the forward’s exit.

“I was really sad to hear that Wilf has decided to leave and start a new chapter in his footballing life,” said Hodgson, who earlier this month confirmed he would manage Palace for the 2023-24 season.

“I was always hoping that he would commit his future to the club and I would have the benefit of working with him again this season.

“I would like to thank him personally for everything he did during my time as manager.

“The club is losing an iconic figure and, although we regret that it has not been possible to persuade Wilfried to stay longer, we can only wish the very best of luck to him and his family in their new venture.”

Zaha left Palace for Manchester United in 2013 but had two loan spells back in south London before returning on a permanent basis in 2015.

The Ivory Coast international, who made two appearances for England before switching his allegiance, had also been linked with Lazio, Fenerbahce and Al-Nassr this summer.

Palace chairman Steve Parish added on the club’s website: “Wilfried Zaha leaves the club having been our best and most influential player.

“After long discussions it became clear he wanted a different challenge, to experience something new and somewhere different before the end of his career, and I think that’s something we can all understand.

“We would not be the club we are today without Wilfried. We are entering our 11th consecutive season in the top flight, and he has spearheaded the vast majority of those campaigns.

“A phenomenal player, who gave us incredible moments on the pitch and worked hard in the community helping inspire people off it, he will be treasured in all of our memories.”