Banners, photos and flowers had been placed outside the Luigi-Ferraris stadium several hours before the match of the 17th day of Serie A between Sampdoria Genoa and Napoli on Sunday to honor the memory of Gianluca Vialli, who died on January 6 at 58, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
In a cathedral silence, a minute of silence was observed in tribute to the former Genoese striker, who wore the Sampdoria tunic for eight seasons from 1984 to 1992. Before the two teams, each aligned in his camp at the level of the central circle, join their applause to those of the stands, dotted with numerous banners honoring the missing number 9, including an imposing one stamped with these three words: “Bomber, Champion, Legend”.
The same protocol was observed to honor the memory of Sinisa Mihajlovic, who died at the end of December, at the age of 53, following leukemia.
In the presence of Sinisa Mihajlovic’s children, Sampdoria president Marco Lanna and his coach Dejan Stankovic paid tribute to Gianluca Vialli and Sinisa Mihajlovic. (J. Lorenzini/Reuters)
At the edge of the field, the president of Sampdoria, Marco Lanna, moved to tears, showed off a shirt stamped with the number 9 of Vialli, with, at his side, coach Dejan Stankovic and the children of Mihajlovic showing off two tunics stamped with the number 11 of the Serbian.
Before kick-off, the Neapolitans Giacomo Raspadori, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Salvatore Sirigu brought bouquets of flowers to honor the memory of the two missing. (J. Lorenzini/Reuters)
“You will always live in our hearts”, recalled a sign, stamped with the number 9 of Vialli. Craftsman of the unique Scudetto won by Sampdoria in 1990-1991, where he finished top scorer in Serie A (19 goals), the Italian international also won three Italian Cups (1985, 1988, 1989) and a Super Cup of Italy (1991) with the Genoese club, as well as the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1990 against Anderlecht (2-0 ap), where he scored the winning double in extra time.