Gianluca Vialli: Tributes pour in as ex-Chelsea, Sampdoria and Italy icon passes away

Gianluca Vialli: Tributes pour in as ex-Chelsea, Sampdoria and Italy icon passes away

Tributes have been pouring in for former Chelsea and Italy striker Gianluca Vialli, who has passed away at the age of 58.

The Italian was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017, and while he had been given the all-clear three years later, he was re-diagnosed in 2021.

Vialli left his role with Italy’s national team last month to focus on his health, but has now sadly passed away.

Vialli leaves lasting mark on Italian football

Born in Cremona in Lombardy in 1964, the talented forward would go on to play over 100 matches for Cremonese in the lower levels of Italian football.

His displays earned him a move to Serie A Sampdoria, where he quickly became one of the most talented and iconic players to ever represent the club. During his eight-year spell with Sampdoria, Vialli played a key role as they lifted the Serie A title in 1990/91, forming a lethal partnership with Roberto Mancini.

He also got his hands on three Coppa Italia trophies, the Supercoppa Italiana and the European Cup Winners’ Cup, with the striker falling at the final hurdle in the 1991/92 European Cup as the Italians narrowly lost 1-0 to Spanish giants Barcelona in extra-time in the final at Wembley.

It was during his time at Sampdoria he was rewarded with a call-up to the Italian national team, with the striker going on to make 59 appearances for his country.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has confirmed that a minute’s silence in memory of the legendary figure will be held before all Italian football matches this weekend, with President Gabriele Gravina paying tribute to Vialli.

“Gianluca was a splendid person and he leaves a void that cannot be filled,” said Gravina.

“I hoped until the end that he would be able to perform another miracle. Yet I am comforted by the certainty that what he did for Italian football and the blue shirt will never be forgotten.”


Chelsea remember legendary figure

The iconic Italian made a switch to English football in 1996 as he joined Premier League Chelsea, later becoming their player-manager after taking over from the sacked Ruud Gullit. 

It proved to be a superb decision from the Blues, with Vialli leading the club to League Cup, Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup and Uefa Super Cup success.

The FA Cup and Charity Shield trophies followed in 2000, with the north London outfit looking back on Vialli’s fantastic memories, saying: “A brilliant striker, a trophy-winning manager and a wonderful man, Luca’s place in the pantheon of Chelsea greats is assured. He will be deeply missed.”

Juventus pay respects to iconic Vialli

Vialli also spent a memorable period with Serie A giants Juventus, with that spell coming in between his time at Sampdoria and Chelsea.

This time he did manage to taste victory in Europe’s premier competition, helping The Old Lady to both Champions League and UEFA Cup successes in 1995/96 and 1992/93 respectively.

The striker also won another Serie A title and another Coppa Italia during his time in Turin.

A statement from Juventus read: “We loved everything about you, absolutely everything – your smile, your being a star and leader at the same time, on the pitch and in the dressing room, your adorable swashbuckling ways, your culture, your class, which you showed until the last day in the black and white stripes.”

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