‘I’m around my friends and family… I’m proud to be from here and I’ve reached my dream’: Wilfried Zaha hints at Crystal Palace stay despite earlier stating Champions League ambitions
Wilfried Zaha has hinted that he wants to stay at Crystal Palace next season, despite previously stating his Champions League ambitions.
The fiery winger was raised in Thornton Heath, a stone’s throw from Palace’s Selhurst Park home, and still lives close to his friends and family in south London.
Now 26, Zaha has been tipped for a big-money summer move, and in a recent interview with Sportsmail, he detailed his ambitions to play for a top-four side.
Wilfried Zaha has expressed his love for south London and being around friends and family
Zaha previously expressed his desire for Champions League football in a Sportsmail interview
The Ivory Coast international is a Crystal Palace legend despite only being 26 years old
Despite that, family is clearly important to the Ivory Coast international and he has now indicated that he would be happy to stay at Palace beyond the current transfer window.
‘I’m around my friends, I’m around my family and one thing that’s special to me, the main thing about being local and near home, is that I can reason with my dad after games,’ he told Carling as part of the Made Local campaign.
‘We will actually sit and go through my game, what he liked and what I liked, and what I should have done better.’
Zaha also reveals how staying ingrained in the south London community helps him be close to his dad after a recent health scare.
Zaha visited his old house in south London and showed where he used to play football
Zaha was met by the current owner, who seemed starstruck to be in the winger’s presence
Zaha says he has ‘achieved his dreams’ at Palace and spoke about how important family is
‘My dad had a stroke,’ he said. ‘He lived away from me, but as soon as he had a stroke it was an eye opener that I need to keep him close. He’s not as young as he was before.
‘Now, on a Friday before games, he tends to pray with me, before the games. If I wasn’t home, I wouldn’t be able to do that, so it makes a massive difference.’
As revealed by Sportsmail in May, Zaha met with Palace’s chairman Steve Parish to ask him for a move, outlining his ambition to challenge for trophies.
But Zaha is Palace through-and-through, a fans’ favourite and seen by many as the club’s all-time greatest player.
The Palace hero met chairman Steve Parish at the end of the season to speak about his future
Zaha is ‘proud’ to be from south London and has already returned once after a move up north
‘I’m proud to be from here and I’m glad that I’m still here because it’s like, I’ve reached my dream,’ Zaha continues.
‘Obviously, there’s so much I want to do in football, but I’ve managed to become a professional footballer and I’m still in the area where I made it.
‘I’m still around my people, still around my friends, so I feel like you can do it too, you know what I mean? That’s why I’m proud to be from here.’
Carling believes that everyone can make it where they’re from. The brand’s Made Local campaign is about championing and supporting people who are making a positive impact in their local communities – just like Carling in Burton-on-Trent and just like Zaha in South London.