We are saddened to bring you the news that today, Italian footballing legend, Gianluca Vialli has passed away from his battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 58, this comes tragically after being given the all-clear in April 2020.
Gianluca was well-known throughout the footballing world for his goal-scoring exploits for club and country combined with a thirst for winning trophies.
Vialli started his career at his local club Cremonese but it was Sampdoria where he began to become noticed as a fantastic striker, linking up with the other half of I Gemelli del Gol (The Goal Twins), Roberto Mancini, who was also a childhood friend. At Sampdoria, Vialli & Mancini helped the club to their first ever Serie A championship in the 1990-91 season, with Gianluca topping the table for goals scored with a great return of 19 goals. This wasn’t Vialli’s only taste of success with Sampdoria, the young striker also tasted victory in the Coppa Italia three times along with a Suppercoppa Italiana win whilst finishing runner-up in 3 separate European competitions during his stay at the club.
Gianluca’s performances eventually led him to making a massive move to Juventus, breaking (at the time) the world-record transfer fee of £12.5million. It was at Juventus where he landed the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy, captaining the side to the final and winning it in 1996, defeating the defending champions, Ajax, 4-2 on penalties.
After an extremely successful spell in Italy, Vialli made the move to England, transferring to Ruud Gullit’s Chelsea side on a free in the summer of 1996. Gianluca had a great spell with Chelsea as a player, winning the FA Cup in his first season before being made player-manager after Gullit’s exit from the club. As player-manager with Chelsea, Vialli again won the FA Cup, along with the League Cup, the Charity Shield, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Super Cup before being dismissed in 2000 after a poor start to the season. After his managerial spell at Chelsea finished, Gianluca moved to Watford for a year before being dismissed from his post and eventually retiring from the touchline and pitch to move into a successful career as a pundit for many years before unfortunately having to step down due to his battle with cancer.
Let’s take the time to say goodbye to such a footballing legend, who will be honoured in matches across the coming days.