Ex Juventus and Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli recently died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. The Italian forward played 102 games for Juventus and 58 times for Chelsea, but most notably won the FA cup whilst managing Chelsea in 2000. As a player he scored 167 goals in 488 games at four different clubs, as well as scoring 16 goals in 59 appearances for his country. He then went on to manage Chelsea for 2 years and Watford for 1, winning 76 out of 143 games whilst at Chelsea, an incredible 53% win rate.
In 1998, Vialli became player manager for Chelsea, and led his team to win the league cup, UEFA cup winners’ cup, and the UEFA super cup, forever writing his name in Chelsea legend. Vialli was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017, and was given the all clear after having treatment. However, in 2021, he had to leave his role with Italy as the cancer had come back and he required treatment again.
In an emotional interview for Sky Sports, Vialli’s ex Sampdoria teammate, Graeme Souness said: “forget football for a minute, he was just a gorgeous soul, a truly nice human being”. He also went on to say “my condolences go to his family, to his wife. His kids have been blessed to have a father like that and his wife has been blessed to be married to a man like that”. Roberto Mancini, John Terry and Mark Hughes are a few of the large number of people in the football community paying tribute to the Chelsea legend.
Vialli leaves behind a true footballing legacy which his family and friends can be proud of, and fans, especially Chelsea fans, will sing his name for years to come. A legend of the game in his own right, gone but never forgotten.