Soccer ex-star Italy striker Vialli dies aged 58 by Reuters
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©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – World Cup – UEFA Qualifying – Italy Training – Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland – November 14, 2021 Italy’s chief delegate Gianluca Vialli during training Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
By Keith Weir and Alvise Armellini
MILAN (Reuters) – Former Italian soccer star Gianluca Vialli has died of cancer at the age of 58, his former soccer club Sampdoria said on Friday.
Vialli, who has enjoyed a distinguished career at Sampdoria, Juventus and Chelsea and has won 59 caps for Italy, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017. A year later, he was given the all-clear, only for the disease to return.
“I know I probably won’t die of old age, I hope to live as long as possible, but I feel a lot more fragile than before,” Vialli said in a Netflix (NASDAQ:) documentary to air in March 2022 would.
He described Krebs as “a traveling companion” who he hoped would eventually leave him alone after testing his skills. “Disease can teach a lot about who you are and push you to go beyond the superficial way we live,” he said.
However, Vialli was forced to give up his role as head of a delegation to the Italy national team last month and said he needed to focus on overcoming a new phase in his illness.
Working with the Italy squad, Vialli had reunited with national team coach Roberto Mancini, a lifelong friend and forward partner, when they both played for Sampdoria, where they were known as ‘the goal twins’.
Vialli and Mancini led the Italians to the 2021 Euro 2020 tournament and lifted the trophy at Wembley Stadium, where their Sampdoria side had lost the European Cup final to Barcelona 29 years earlier.
They celebrated last year with a tearful hug that “was nicer than the hugs we used to give each other when I passed the ball to him and he scored goals,” Vialli told Italy’s RAI in a TV interview in November.