Soccer

Gianluca Vialli dead – Chelsea legend dies aged 58 after cancer battle

Chelsea legend Gianluca Vialli dies aged 58 after brave cancer battle

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Vialli scored 40 goals in 88 appearances for Chelsea between 1996 and 1999. He then went on to manage the club and won three trophies in the pre-Roman Abramovich era. 

Initially taking over as player-manager in early 1998, Vialli guided Chelsea to the League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup in his first few months in charge. He then won the FA Cup in 2000. 

Tributes by Vialli’s former club poured in after his death was confirmed on Friday morning. Chelsea tweeted: “You’ll be missed by so many. A legend to us and to all of football. Rest in peace, Gianluca Vialli.”

Sampdoria, for whom the former Italy international made 328 appearances, tweeted a broken heart emoji alongside a picture of their ex-player and the gutting words: “Ciao Luca.”

Vialli was initially cleared of his pancreatic cancer in 2020 and took up a role with the Italian national team alongside his former team-mate Roberto Mancini. He was in the dugout for Italy’s triumphant Euro 2020 campaign, in which they beat England on penalties in the final.

But he stepped down from the role earlier this month and returned to the Royal Marsden in London to undergo further treatment on the cancer. At the time, he described it as an “unwanted guest”. 

A prolific goalscorer, Vialli played 59 times for his national team, netting 16 times. He started his professional career at Cremonese before spending eight years with Sampdoria and four with Juventus. 

Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravini confirmed Vialli’s death on Friday morning and said: “Gianluca was a wonderful person and leaves an unfillable void, in the national team and in all those who appreciated his extraordinary human qualities.”

It has been announced that “a minute of recollection” will take place before Italian football matches this weekend. 

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