Former Italian football star Gianluca Vialli dies aged 58

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 6 Jan, 2023 Updated Fri 6 Jan 2023 11:34 CEST
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Former Italy striker Gianluca Vialli died of pancreatic cancer earlier on Friday. Photo by Facundo ARRIZABALAGA / AFP

Former Juventus, Chelsea and Italy striker Gianluca Vialli has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 58, his former club Sampdoria announced on Friday.


Vialli was diagnosed with cancer back in 2017 but was still able to play a significant role in Italy's European Championship title-winning campaign in 2021, assisting long-time Sampdoria strike partner and national coach Roberto Mancini.

However, the signs were not good when he announced a temporary leave from his role with the national team in December to focus on his health.

"We have come a long way together, growing and searching, winning and dreaming. You came as a boy, we salute you as a man," Genoa-based Sampdoria said in a statement.


They added: "We will not forget your 141 goals, your backhands, your cashmere jerseys, your earring, your platinum blond hair, your Ultras bomber. You gave us so much, we gave you so much: yes, it was love, mutual, endless. A love that will not die, today, with you."

Vialli spent a total of eight seasons at Sampdoria, winning the Serie A title and European Cup Winners' Cup before joining Juventus in 1992 for a then world record 16.5 million euros.

He won the Champions League with Juventus before joining Chelsea in 1996 and becoming player-manager in 1998.

Vialli took over from Ruud Gullit late in the season, and went on to lead Chelsea to victory in the League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

He also guided Chelsea to victory in the 2000 FA Cup final but was sacked in the following season.

Chelsea's current co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali said in a statement: "This is truly an awful day for Chelsea Football Club. Gianluca's legend will live on at Stamford Bridge.

"His impact as a player, a coach and most importantly as a person, will be forever written across our club's history."

The Italian football federation (FIGC) said a minute's silence would be held before all matches in the country this weekend.

"Gianluca was a wonderful person and leaves an unbridgeable void, in the national team and in all those who appreciated his extraordinary human qualities," it said.



AFP/The Local 2023/01/06 11:34

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