January 30, 2023

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Former Italy striker Vialli dies aged 58

2 min read

Gianluca Vialli has died at the age of 58.

The former Italy, Chelsea, Sampdoria and Juventus player was originally diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 and, after announcing he had been given the all-clear in April 2020, he was re-diagnosed the following year.

Vialli left his role as a coach with Italy’s national team in December due to complications with the disease.

He had hoped the move away from his job would be a temporary one, though reports emerged that Vialli’s family had flown to London to visit him in hospital.

His passing was confirmed on Friday, with tributes pouring in from across the world of football and beyond.

A striker in his playing days, Vialli spent much of his career at Sampdoria before joining Juve in 1992.

He moved to Chelsea four years later and in February 1998 was named player-manager after Ruud Gullit’s sacking, becoming the first Italian to manage in the Premier League.

Vialli enjoyed success, going on to guide the Blues to an EFL Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup double, making him the youngest manager to win a UEFA tournament at the age of 33 years and 308 days, a record that stood for over a decade.

In Vialli’s first full season as player-manager, Chelsea claimed third spot – at the time their best finish in the Premier League – and also beat Real Madrid to win the Super Cup. The following campaign saw the Blues reach the Champions League quarter-finals and win the FA Cup.

Vialli, who made 59 appearances for Italy between 1985 and 1992, departed Chelsea shortly into the 2000-01 campaign and later had a brief spell with Watford.

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