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Former Juventus, Italy, Chelsea Striker, Gianluca Vialli dies at 58

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Former Italy, Sampdoria, Juventus and Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli, has died aged 58 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Italian soccer federation confirmed Vialli’s death on Friday.

Vialli was diagnosed again towards the end of 2021 and in December he took the decision to step back from his chief of delegation role in the Italy national team in order to concentrate on his health.

During a 19-year playing career, Vialli represented Chelsea as well as Juventus, Sampdoria and Cremonese in his homeland.

At Sampdoria, he enjoyed huge success, winning a Serie A title, three Coppa Italias and a Supercoppa Italia, forming a fine partnership up front with Roberto Mancini.

He then joined Juventus, where he won Serie A, Coppa Italia, UEFA Cup and the Champions League.

Vialli also played 59 times for Italy and was part of their squads at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups, as well as at Euro ’88.

But to English football fans he’s best known for his time at Chelsea, serving them as both a player and a manager.

As a player he helped the Blues to winning the FA Cup in the 1996/97 season as well as the League Cup the following season.

After the sacking of Ruud Gullit in February 1998, Vialli became player/manager at Chelsea, becoming the first Italian to manage a club in the Premier League. He took on the coaching job at Stamford Bridge full-time in 1999.

Vialli steered Chelsea into their debut season in the Champions League in the 1999/2000 season, which saw them reach the quarter-finals.

He left the job in 2000 having won five trophies in charge of Chelsea, including the FA Cup in 2000 and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1998.

After Chelsea, Vialli had a brief spell at Watford which proved to be his final gig as a manager.

In October 2019, Vialli was given his role with Italy under head coach Mancini, who guided the Azzurri to Euro 2020 success over England.

Reacting to his death, Vialli’s former Chelsea teammate Scott Minto broke down in tears.

He said: “”I’ve got tears. It’s not just him as a player, it’s a person. He came to Chelsea as this superstar and he was just one of the lads.

“He didn’t speak great English, he’d have these English books for children, like ‘The Cat Jumped Over the Dog’. Within six months, he was fluent. He was such a classy guy.”

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