Gianluca Vialli, a former Chelsea striker and manager who passed away at the age of 58, was described by his former Sampdoria teammate Graeme Souness as “a beautiful soul” in addition to “a wonderful footballer and a warm human being.”
In 2017, Vialli was given the all-clear for pancreatic cancer. He disclosed that he had been given the all-clear in 2020, but in 2021 he was once again diagnosed.
Sky Sports was told by Souness: People will talk about how great he is at football, and they will be right, but most of all, he is a good person.”
Souness, a former Scotland midfielder, added: My sympathies go out to his family; not only were his children fortunate to have a father like that, but so was his wife’s marriage to him.
“It was a pleasure to be around him. He was such a fun-loving, mischievous individual, an excellent football player, and a warm person.
“He was just a gorgeous soul, forget football.”
In order to concentrate on his health, Vialli, who appeared in 59 games for Italy, quit his position with the national team in December 2022.
Following his appointment to Italy’s backroom staff in October 2019 by manager and former Sampdoria teammate Roberto Mancini, he contributed to the Azzurri’s victory over England at Wembley in July 2021, which resulted in the Azzurri winning Euro 2020.
Obituary: Football Daily podcast: Vialli is “the great striker and endearing figure.” Listen to the Headliners podcast to learn more about Gianluca Vialli’s life and football career. Learn the warning signs of pancreatic cancer. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has confirmed that all Italian matches this weekend will include a minute of silence in his honor.
Gabriele Gravina, president of the FIGC, stated, “Gianluca was a splendid person and he leaves a void that cannot be filled.”
“I hoped that he would be able to do another miracle until the very end.” However, I can rest assured that his contributions to Italian football and the blue shirt will never be forgotten.
A statement from the FIGC added: One of the images of Vialli that we will always remember is that photo on the Wembley lawn and that hug with Mancini following Federico Chiesa’s goal against Austria in the round of 16 of the 2021 European Championship.
After signing with Sampdoria in 1985, Vialli made his debut for Italy. During his eight seasons with the team, he won the Serie A title and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Sampdoria stated, We will never forget your cashmere shirts, 141 goals, overhead kicks, earring, platinum blonde hair, and Ultras bomber jacket.
“You gave us a lot, and we gave you a lot: Yes, it was love that was mutual and unending. a love that, with you, will never end.”
Vialli helped Sampdoria reach the European Cup final in 1992, but he left for Juventus for a record-breaking £12 million at the time. Vialli played for Juve for four seasons, winning the Serie A, Champions League, and Uefa Cup.
Juve stated, We adored everything about you, including your smile, your status as a star and a leader simultaneously, both on the field and in the dressing room, your adorable swashbuckling ways, your culture, and your class, which you displayed until the very last day wearing the black and white stripes.
The first Italian to manage a Premier League team, Vialli took over from fired Ruud Gullit late in the season and led the Blues to victories in the League Cup, Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup, and Uefa Super Cup after joining Chelsea on a free transfer in 1996.
He also led Chelsea to victories in the Charity Shield and FA Cup final in 2000, but he was fired early the following season due to a poor start.
Chelsea stated, Luca is a wonderful man, a great striker, a trophy-winning manager, and deserves a place among Chelsea’s greats. We will all miss him greatly.”
After that, Vialli managed Watford, a team in the second division at the time, for the 2001-2002 season before being fired after the Hornets finished 14th.
“My captain, forever” – tributes to Vialli
The tributes to the former Italy striker were led by his former teammates and managers.
Gianfranco Zola, who played with Vialli and later worked under him at Chelsea, stated: We shared some of our best times and won numerous matches together.
“We have often clashed for the love of our ball. without retaliation, but at all times with the utmost respect. Due to the fact that, in the end, we were always ourselves: two boys from Italy and a ball.”
Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid manager and Vialli’s Italy teammate, tweeted in Italian: “Goodbye, my friend,” in Italian.
Alessandro del Piero, who won the Champions League with Vialli and Juventus, posted: Our commander. My commander. Forever.”
Gullit, a former Blues manager, shared an Instagram picture of him and Vialli on the day Vialli signed with Chelsea in 1996 with the caption, ” Gianluca Vialli, RIP. We’ll miss you a lot.”
Vialli was an “important person” who “opened the door for Italian managers” in the Premier League, according to Tottenham assistant Cristian Stellini, who said Vialli’s news made fellow Italian manager Antonio Conte “upset and sad.”
“He was a great player for us, but first and foremost, he was a great person. Stellini said, “He taught us a lot, not only when he played but also when he talked to everyone.”
“Now we have to say thanks to Vialli for opening the door for us and allowing us to understand how important football is in Europe to create and open doors. Italian managers also entered the Premier League and made it better, so we did it together. It’s a wonderful thing.”
Presenter Gary Lineker of BBC Match of the Day wrote the following on Twitter: I was shocked to learn that Gianluca Vialli had passed away. one of the most beautiful people you’ll ever meet. a footballer who was truly exceptional and will be greatly missed. Luca, RIP.”
John Terry, a former captain of Chelsea, posted this tweet: Heartbroken. Luca, RIP. a worthy legend and a great individual. I will always be grateful that you allowed me to make my debut.”
Carlo Cudicini, a former Chelsea goalkeeper, stated on BBC Radio 5 Live: He made a significant contribution to what is now the world’s best league.
He always possessed such a buoyant spirit. His aura was enormous. When he entered a room, his presence was immediately felt.”
Alan Shearer, a former captain of England, wrote on Twitter: Gianluca Vialli, RIP. He was a wonderful player and a lovely person.
Additionally, former England striker Peter Crouch posted on Twitter: I’m truly heartbroken about this. He was the reason I had Sampdoria home and away shirts. I tried to imitate his volleys in the park, and when I first met him, he was such a lovely person. Rip”