Former Italian striker Gianluca Vialli has died at the age of 58, announces his former club Sampdoria. The former international (59 caps, 16 goals), who had been battling pancreatic cancer for several years, announced in mid-December that he was suspending his activities with the Italy team, alongside coach Roberto Mancini, to fight a news “disease stage”.
“The goal is to use all my physical and mental energy to help my body overcome this phase of the disease, so that I can take part in new adventures as soon as possible and share them with you all”explained then Gianluca Vialli, ex-teammate of Mancini at Sampdoria and member of his team in recent years, in particular during the title of European champion won by the Azzurri in July 2021.
With the national team, Vialli had obtained third place in the World Cup in 1990 on home soil and had reached the semi-finals of Euro 88. The Twitter account of the quadruple world champions paid tribute to him: “ Ciao Gianluca, we will remember you forever”.
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Vialli had won the 1996 Champions League and the 1993 UEFA Cup with Juventus, the 1990 Cup with Sampdoria and then in 1998 with Chelsea. He was also Italian champion with Sampdoria (1991) and Juventus (1995).
While ending his playing career in 1999, Vialli became coach of the Blues in 1998. “Entrusting the management of Chelsea to Vialli is like giving an 18-year-old the keys to a Ferrari”, was then offended Fabio Capello, former mentor of AC Milan and Real Madrid. Result: the London club took three trophies in six months, the League Cup, the Cup Winners’ Cup and the European Super Cup.