Terry, who recently left the club after 717 appearances, reflected in an interview with the club's website that Zola's lessons helped him evolve into the player he became.
Asked if he had any regrets looking back on his career, Terry responded: "You know what, probably not really. I pretty well have no regrets and looking back I enjoyed my time at that age. And we had the likes of Gianfranco Zola at the club with the way he was looking after himself, whether that be food or not drinking or going out after games."
"I had grown up with the mentality that you train all week, play the game and then go out drinking and then go again next week, but when the likes of Franco came it was all about eating the right food after training and that helped me as a player back then.
"I was quite close to Franco, I played golf with him quite a bit and spent some time at his house so I saw the way he lived, what he ate, what he drank and he got me into coffees rather than shandies after a game of golf.
"I was very fortunate to be around someone like him as a person, the way he gave time to fans, got off the bus and signed a hundred autographs in the pouring rain. It was a good education for me."