Gianluca Vialli: Former Chelsea, Juventus and Italy striker dies aged 58

Gianluca Vialli: Former Chelsea, Juventus and Italy striker dies aged 58

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Gianluca VialliVialli played for Cremonese and Sampdoria before joining Juventus

Former Chelsea striker and manager Gianluca Vialli has died aged 58.

Vialli was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017, but after saying in April 2020 that he had received the all-clear, he was re-diagnosed in 2021.

He announced in December that he would be temporarily leaving his role with the Italy national team to focus on his health.

“Gianluca was a great person and leaves a void that cannot be filled,” said Gabriele Gravina, president of the Italian Football Federation.

“I kept hoping until the end that he could pull off another miracle. But I take comfort in the knowledge that what he did for Italian football and the blue jersey will never be forgotten.”

Vialli made 59 appearances for Italy, making his debut in 1985, a year after joining Sampdoria, where he won the Serie A title and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in eight seasons with the club.

He also helped Sampdoria reach the 1992 European Cup final but after losing to Ajax he joined Juventus for a then-world-record fee of £12million. Vialli spent four seasons at Juve, winning the Champions League, Uefa Cup and Serie A.

He joined Chelsea on a free transfer in 1996 and became player-manager in 1998.

Vialli became the first Italian to manage a Premier League side, taking over from the sacked Ruud Gullit towards the end of the season and then leading the Blues to victory in the League Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

He also guided Chelsea to victory in the 2000 FA Cup Final and Charity Shield but was sacked early the following season after a poor start.

The forward also had a brief spell at Watford in the 2001/02 season, then in the Second Division, but was sacked after the Hornets finished only 14th.

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