Former Chelsea, Juventus and football star Gianluca Vialli has died at 58

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West Chelsea, JuventusSampdoria and Italy international Gianluca Vialli died on Friday at the age of 58 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer since 2017. The popular Italian has temporarily stepped down from his role with the Azzurri as part of Roberto Mancini’s staff as acting boss in December due to health reasons and was confirmed back in 2021 after initially being cleared in 2020.

“Gianluca was a magnificent man and he leaves a void that cannot be filled,” said Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina. “I was hoping until now that he would be able to do a miracle do another. But I am happy to be sure that what he did for Italian football and the blue shirt will never be forgotten.”

Vialli played 59 times for Italy in total and ended in 1985 – a year after joining Sampdoria from the creative and hometown club Cremonese. He helped I Blucerchiati to the Serie A title and the European Cup Winners’ Cup over an eight-season stay. After the 1992 European Cup final, Vialli joined Juventus for a then-record $14 million and won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup and Serie A in Turin.

“We will never forget your 141 goals, your overhead kicks, your cashmere shirts, your earrings, your platinum blonde hair, your Ultras bomber jacket,” he read Sampdoria report “You gave us so much, we gave you so much: yes, it was love, caring, infinite. Love that will not die today with you.”

The FIGC has confirmed that a moment of silence in memory of Vialli will be observed before the start of all Italian matches – on Paramount + – this weekend. The man from Cremona was also awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic twice – once in 1991 after Sampdoria won the Scudetto and again in 2021 after the Azzurri’s Euro victory at Wembley Stadium.

“We loved everything about you, really everything,” read Juve’s statement. “Your smile, being a star and a leader at the same time, on the pitch and in the dressing room, your interesting ways, your culture, your class, which you showed until the last day in the black and white stripes.”

Vialli signed for Chelsea as a free agent in 1996 and became player manager in 1998 after taking over from Ruud Gullit to become the first Italian to manage a Premier League club. The blues won the League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup under his leadership as well as the 2000 FA Cup.

“You will be missed by so many,” Chelsea wrote. “A legend for us and for all of football. Rest in peace, Gianluca Vialli.”

Vialli also had a short stint as Watford manager in 2001-02 in his last managerial role and would later be part of close friend and former Sampdoria teammate Roberto Mancini with Italy and was part of the team that won Euro Euro 2021.

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