Ex-Chelsea, Juventus star Gianluca Vialli dies at 58

Former Chelsea and Juventus star Gianluca Vialli has died on the age of 58 following a protracted battle with most cancers.

Vialli was first recognized with pancreatic most cancers in 2017 and for a second time in 2021.

A press release from his household on Friday learn: “Surrounded by his family, he passed away last night after five years of illness faced with courage and dignity.

“We thank the various who’ve supported him through the years with their affection. The reminiscence of him and his instance will dwell eternally in our hearts.”

Vialli was part of the coaching staff that led Italy to Euro 2020 success, but left his role with the national team in December in order to undergo more treatment.

“I do know that I in all probability is not going to die of previous age, I hope to dwell so long as attainable, however I really feel rather more fragile than earlier than,” Vialli had said in a Netflix documentary aired in March 2022.

He described cancer as “a journey companion” that he hoped would eventually leave him in peace, after testing his mettle. “Sickness can educate loads about who you might be, and might push you to transcend the superficial means wherein we dwell,” he said.

The Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina said: “Gianluca was an exquisite particular person and leaves an unfillable void, within the nationwide crew and in all those that appreciated his extraordinary human qualities.”

Vialli first emerged as a young player with his local team Cremonese in Italy’s third and second tiers.

He moved to Sampdoria in 1984 and helped the club enjoy the most successful period in its history, winning the Italian Cup three times. Vialli scored twice as Sampdoria beat Anderlecht 2-0 in 1990 to lift the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

He also played a major role when Sampdoria claimed the Serie A league title in 1991 for the first and only time, scoring 19 goals.

Vialli left the Genoa-based club in the summer of 1992, moving to Juventus, where after a sluggish start he rediscovered his goalscoring touch and helped the Turin giants win the Italian league in 1995 and the Champions League the following season.

He joined London club Chelsea on a free transfer in 1996 and became player manager two years later when Dutchman Ruud Gullit was sacked.

Under Vialli, Chelsea won the League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup in 1998 and the FA Cup two years later before he too was dismissed.

His last managerial role was in charge of Watford in the English second tier in 2001-2002.

After leaving team management, Vialli co-founded sports investment firm Tifosy Capital.

In October 2019, Vialli was appointed Italy’s new delegation chief, meaning he was reunited with national coach Roberto Mancini, a lifelong friend and strike partner when they both played for Sampdoria, where they were known as “the purpose twins.”

Mancini and Vialli led the Italians to Euro 2020, which was delayed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lifting the trophy in Wembley Stadium. Their Sampdoria team had lost the European Cup final to Barcelona at the same venue 29 years earlier.

The pair celebrated with a tearful embrace that “was extra stunning than the hugs we used to present one another after I handed him the ball and he scored targets,” Vialli mentioned in a TV interview with Italy’s RAI in November.

Vialli leaves a spouse and two daughters.

Info from Reuters contributed to this report.