Chelsea lead tributes to former Italy striker Gianluca Vialli after his death

Chelsea and Juventus led tributes to former Italy striker Gianluca Vialli, who has died aged 58.

Vialli died last night surrounded by his family after a five-year battle with cancer.

Former footballers and football clubs have expressed their condolences to Vialli on social media.

Gianluca Vialli (pictured), who was on duty in Italy in September, has died of cancer at the age of 58

Gianluca Vialli (pictured), who was on duty in Italy in September, has died of cancer at the age of 58

One of his former club's Chelsea players has led the tributes paid to Vialli (pictured) after his death

One of his former club’s Chelsea players has led the tributes paid to Vialli (pictured) after his death

Numerous clubs have also paid tribute to Vialli, including his former clubs Chelsea, Juventus, Sampdoria and Watford.

The Blues tweeted: “You will be missed by so many. A legend for us and for football as a whole. Rest in peace, Gianluca Vialli.”

Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali added: “This is truly a terrible day for Chelsea Football Club. Gianluca’s legend will live on at Stamford Bridge.

“His influence as a player, as a coach and above all as a person will forever be written in the history of our club. We offer our heartfelt and deepest condolences to his family and friends.’

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Another former club of his Juventus released a lengthy emotional statement which read: “Such an intense sense of loss. We’d been following the news for days hoping we’d never read this.

“But here we are staring at the screen and a flood of emotions erupts in us.

“We were always with you, Gianluca. Ever since you arrived in 1992 when it was love at first sight.

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“You were one of the first members of a Juve team that would have risen back to the top of Europe.

“We loved everything about you, absolutely everything – your smile, being a star and a leader at the same time, on the pitch and in the dressing room, your adorable daring manner, your culture, your class, which you showed to the last day in the black and white stripes.

“The most memorable moments of those years inevitably led to that celebration, after equalizing in that unforgettable match against Fiorentina in 1994 when the whole stadium was engulfed in a roar and you carried the ball back to the center circle and said ‘now’ let’s go and win it’. And we know that’s how it ended.

“That trophy that you lifted to the sky on a warm night in Rome was riddled with that never-ending moment of tears that began at the moment of the decisive penalty. And those tears were ours. Sweet tears of joy.”

Serie A team Sampdoria released a statement of their own: “You gave us so much, we gave you so much: Yes, it was love, mutual, infinite. A love that won’t die with you today.

“We will continue to love and adore you because, as you know, you are better than Pele. And because, despite everything, our beautiful season will never end.

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“We will remember you as a boy and a relentless centre-forward because heroes are all young and beautiful and you have been our hero since that summer of 1984.

‘Strong and beautiful, with that 9 on the back and the Italian flag on the heart.’

Watford also followed suit, saying: “Everyone at Watford FC is saddened to learn of the passing of our former manager Gianluca Vialli. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Not one club of his, but also Manchester United, paid tribute by writing: “A wonderful player, manager and person who was a privilege to play against. Rest in peace, Gianluca Vialli.”

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Former players have also joined by paying their respects including Ray Parlor, Frank Sinclair and Ramon Vega among others.

Parlor tweeted: Sad news of the death of Gianluca Vialli. legend and big guy.”

Sinclair wrote: “Devastating news of the passing of Luca Vialli, one of the nicest guys I’ve met in game, a great manager and teammate. RIEP Luca. God bless.’

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Former Tottenham and Watford defender Ramon Vega said: “I have just been informed of the very sad news that Gianluca Vialli passed away at around 2am this morning.

“RIP I played against him in Italy and England and was also my manager. What a player and gentleman he was. Unfortunately missing. My sincere condolences to the family.’

Paul Robinson wrote: “Terrible news regarding Vialli. I will forever be grateful to you for the guidance and trust you showed me as a young lad playing under you.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.”

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Graeme Souness also recalled his time with Vialli in Sampdoria in the 1980s via Football every day.

He said: “He just loved to laugh. It was a pleasure to be with him. Once you’ve been in his company for 10-15 minutes, I think you’ll remember him for the rest of your life.’

Former Liverpool and Real Sociedad player John Aldridge said: “What another sad day for football.

“Another genius dies VALLI, what a player, what a gentleman! This photo is from my utmost respect!

“My most valuable jersey swap of my career, Italy vROI when he was number one in world football. Never forget a true great. God bless RIP. YNWA.’

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Expert Chris Kamara also had his say, tweeting: “Devastated to hear the news. RIP Luca – a fabulous career and a great guy.

“A wonderful life has been cut short. I’m well and properly gutted. Gianluca Vialli, it was an honor to have known you.’

Former Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer also expressed his condolences by saying: RIP Gianluca Vialli. What a lovely man and a wonderful player he was.’

Vialli represented the Azzurri at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups, won the 1996 Champions League with Juventus and gained popularity in England during a brief stint at Stamford Bridge.

Vialli was the player-manager at Chelsea

Vialli was the player-manager at Chelsea

Vialli was player-manager and then manager of Chelsea, guiding them to the 1998 European Cup Winners’ Cup and League Cup and the 2000 FA Cup.

His death follows a battle with pancreatic cancer, with his condition deteriorating in the week before Christmas and the family rushing to his bedside in a London hospital.

Vialli was diagnosed with the disease for a second time in 2021 after being given the all-clear in April 2020 after a 17-month battle.

He worked on Roberto Mancini’s coaching staff during Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph last year but had recently stepped down to focus on his recent cancer battle.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11606087/Chelsea-leads-tributes-former-Italy-striker-Gianluca-Vialli-following-passing.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Chelsea lead tributes to former Italy striker Gianluca Vialli after his death

Maureen Mackey

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