The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President; Gabriele Gravina has described Gianluca Vialli as a splendid person, who has left a void that cannot be filled.
“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.”
The FIGC further confirmed that a minute’s silence in memory of Gianluca Vialli will be held before all Italian matches this weekend.
Gianluca Vialli; former Chelsea striker and manager, who played 59 times for Italy, has died at the age of 58. Vialli, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 was said to have been given the all-clear in April 2020.
However, he was re-diagnosed in 2021, and in December 2022, he left a role with Italy’s national team to focus on his health.
Gianluca Vialli and Italian League
Vialli made his Italy debut in 1985, a year after joining Sampdoria where he would win the Serie A title and European Cup Winners’ Cup during eight seasons with the club.
Vialli helped Sampdoria reach the 1992 European Cup final but after losing to Barcelona, he moved to Juventus for a then-world-record fee of £12 million.
A statement by Sampdoria said: “We won’t forget your 141 goals, your overhead kicks, your cashmere shirts, your earring, your platinum blonde hair, your Ultras bomber jacket. You gave us so much, we gave you so much: yes, it was love, reciprocal, infinite. A love that will not die today with you.”
Vialli spent four seasons with Juve, winning the Champions League, Uefa Cup, and Serie A titles.
“We loved everything about you, absolutely everything – your smile, you’re 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,” A Juve statement said
Gianluca Vialli in Premiere League
Vialli joined Chelsea on a free transfer in 1996 and became player-manager in 1998 – the first Italian to manage a Premier League side, taking over from the sacked Ruud Gullit late in the season – and went on to lead the Blues to victory in the League Cup, Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup and Uefa Super Cup.
He also guided Chelsea to victory in the 2000 FA Cup final and Charity Shield but was sacked early in the following season after a poor start.
A Blues statement said: “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.”
Vialli subsequently spent the 2001-02 season as manager of Watford, then in the second tier, but was dismissed after the Hornets finished 14th.
In October 2019 he was appointed to Italy’s backroom staff by the manager and former Sampdoria team-mate Roberto Mancini. He helped the Azzurri win Euro 2020 with a victory over England at Wembley in July 2021.