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Chiesa dedicates Juve’s recent win to the ‘real champion’ Vialli

Chiesa dedicates Juve’s recent win to the ‘real champion’ Vialli

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Federico Chiesa dedicated Juventus’ late win over Udinese Gianluca Vialli after the legendary former Bianconeri striker’s death at the age of 58.

Vialli, who also played for Cremonese, Sampdoria and Chelsea, died in London on Friday.

He was originally diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 and after announcing in April 2020 that he had been given the all-clear, he was re-diagnosed the following year.

Vialli made over 100 appearances for Juventus, with whom he won the Champions League, Serie A, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup in four seasons.

Juve honored Vialli with a minute of applause ahead of Saturday’s 1-0 league win over Udinese and showed footage of his greatest moments on the big screen throughout the season.

Chiesa worked closely with Vialli when the latter served as Italy’s assistant manager alongside Roberto Mancini, with the Azzurri’s triumph at Euro 2020 being the highlight.

After setting up Danilo’s late winner against Udinese, second-half substitute Chiesa told DAZN: “Our first thoughts go to Gianluca Vialli.

“He was a wonderful person and I was very fortunate to meet him in my life because he was a real champion but above all a wonderful person.

“At the European Championship he was really like an extra player, he was on the pitch with us. We could talk for hours about what a great man he was. Victory is for him.”

Thanks to their second late win in a row to open 2023, Juventus have now kept eight clean sheets in Serie A for the first time since March 2018.

The Bianconeri have recovered from a slow start to the season and have moved up to second place, within four points of nearest opponents Napoli, who meet Sampdoria on Sunday.

Although Allegri has closed the gap to the leaders, he insists a place in the top four remains the immediate goal for his side.

“Napoli are still the clear favorites for the Scudetto,” he said. “They have a huge advantage while we look to consolidate the top four.

“We’re almost halfway through the season and are on the right track. Again, raising the bar is about achievements, not results or goals.

“We have to take it step by step, focus on the work and achieve the minimum goal, which is a top 4 finish.”

Juventus have now scored six goals after 85 minutes in Serie A this season, the most of any team.

Danilo’s tap-in against Udinese came after Leandro Paredes played in for his substitute Chiesa, who in turn put the ball on a plate for his substitute captain.

“Sometimes we were a little too hasty with our crosses and passes,” said Allegri. “We knew there could be difficulties but that the game would improve over time.

“We brought the win home late because we were in good shape and mentally strong.

“Technical ability is key, but if you don’t have the desire to go that extra mile and come in inches ahead of your opponent, you don’t win these games.”

Juve now have 12 clean sheets after their opening 17 Serie A games, a tally only surpassed by Cagliari in 1966/67 (13) at this stage of the season.

“As the coach says, we have to keep raising the bar,” added Chiesa. “Eight wins in a row is not enough; we have to keep doing better.”

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