Italian football legend Gianluca Vialli dies at 58

For­mer Ital­ian strik­er Gian­lu­ca Vial­li, who won Serie A and Euro­pean tro­phies with Sam­p­do­ria and Juven­tus and coached Chelsea, has died. he is 58 years old.

The Ital­ian Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion con­firmed Vial­li’s death on Friday.

Vial­li announced in 2018 that he had sur­vived a year-long bat­tle with pan­cre­at­ic can­cer, but then announced in Decem­ber 2021 that the dis­ease had returned.

Vial­li announced in mid-Decem­ber that he was tem­porar­i­ly step­ping down as head of the Ital­ian nation­al team due to his dete­ri­o­rat­ing health.

Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Gabriele Grav­ina expressed his “deep sad­ness”, not­ing that Vial­li’s sport­ing suc­cess was due to his “extra­or­di­nary human qualities”.

Vial­li was appoint­ed head of the del­e­ga­tion to his long­time friend and for­mer team­mate, Azzur­ri coach Rober­to Mancini.

The duo, who played togeth­er at Sam­p­do­ria, were dubbed the ‘Goal Gemeri’ and led the Genoese club to their only Serie A title in 1991 and their only Euro­pean title in 1990, win­ning four Cup Win­ners’ Cup and Ital­ian Cup tro­phies. obtained one.

Vial­li and Manci­ni also helped Sam­p­do­ria reach the 1992 Euro­pean Cup final, where they were beat­en by Barcelona at Wem­b­ley Stadium.

Vial­li reunit­ed with Manci­ni as head coach and helped Italy win the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship in 2021 with a penal­ty shootout win over Eng­land at Wembley.

“We have a rela­tion­ship that goes far beyond friend­ship,” Manci­ni said dur­ing the Euros. “He’s like a real brother”

Vial­li’s death comes three weeks after fel­low Serie A star Sin­isha Miha­jlović died untime­ly after a long bat­tle with leukemia. Miha­jlovic also played under Manci­ni at Sam­p­do­ria after Vial­li’s move to Juventus.

Vial­li won anoth­er Serie A title with Juven­tus, as well as the Cham­pi­ons League and UEFA Cup trophies.

“Juven­tus said in a state­ment: ‘We feel such a strong sense of loss. ‘We will always be with you, Gian­lu­ca’. Ever since you arrived in 1992, I fell in love at first sight. 

your smile, being a star and a leader on the pitch and in the dress­ing room, your love­able streak, your cul­ture, your grace and what you showed all the way to the last day in your black and white stripes. I loved everything”.

Vial­li played for Italy from 1985 to 1992, mak­ing 59 appear­ances and scor­ing 16 goals.

He end­ed his play­ing career win­ning the FA Cup, League Cup and Cup Win­ners’ Cup with Chelsea. After leav­ing Chelsea, he lived in Lon­don and worked as a tele­vi­sion commentator.

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