Gianluca Vialli dies at 58
Gianluca Vialli, a Chelsea and Italy legend, died at the age of 58, five years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer for the first time.
Vialli scored 40 goals in 88 appearances for the Blues between 1996 and 1999 before taking over as manager and winning three major trophies.
Chelsea won the League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup in his first few months as player-manager, before adding the FA Cup in 2000.
After being given the all-clear from cancer in 2020, the former Sampdoria and Juventus forward joined former teammate Roberto Mancini’s staff with the Italian national team, which won the European Championships in England the following summer.
He stepped aside from the post earlier this month when he returned to the Royal Marsden hospital to undertake more treatment on the cancer, which he called “an unwanted guest”.
Vialli is survived by his wife Cathryne White Cooper and their two daughters Olivia and Sofia. He previously managed Watford between 2001 and 2002.
Tributes to the former striker have begun to come in, with a number of clubs in Italy and elsewhere posting tributes. “A magnificent man, a tremendous champion and fighter on the field and in life,” Udinese said in a statement. “You left early, bloody early, but your amazing example and class will live on in our hearts forever. Hello, Gianluca.”
A Champions League winner with Juventus in 1996, Vialli rounded off his playing career in England. He became player-manager of Chelsea in 1998 after the departure of Ruud Gullit, and remained in the dugout after hanging up his boots.