Italian football is in mourning. Gianluca Vialli tragically lost his long battle with pancreatic cancer on Friday, January 6 and has passed away at the age of 58.
Vialli was beloved within Italian football and further afield, and will be forever remembered as a legend at Sampdoria, Juventus, Cremonese and Premier League side Chelsea.
Gianluca Vialli honours
Vialli’s career began with his hometown club Cremonese, who returned to Serie A for the 2022/23 season, but he really made his name during his time with his next club, Sampdoria. With the Blucerchiati, Vialli and close friend Roberto Mancini were christened the ‘Goal Twins’ as they formed a lethal partnership in attack. Vialli won Serie A, three Coppa Italias, a Supercoppa Italiana and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup with Samp. They also finished as a runner-up in the European Cup, losing to Barcelona.
From Genoa, he headed to Turin to join Juventus. With the Old Lady, Vialli won another Serie A, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, but managed to get his hands on the Champions League trophy as well as winning the UEFA Cup.
Vialli’s playing days ended outside of Italy with Premier League side Chelsea. At 33, he was appointed player-manager. With the Blues, he added another Cup Winners’ Cup and won both the FA Cup and League Cup as well. He also won the Charity Shield – England’s equivalent of the Supercoppa Italiana.
Tributes pour in
Expectedly, tributes weren’t long in coming after news of Vialli’s passing broke. Chelsea, Juventus, Cremonese and Sampdoria were just some of the clubs leading the tributes.
Former Samp teammate Graeme Souness spoke emotionally about the Italian.
“I can’t tell you how good a guy he was. Forget football, he was just a gorgeous soul. He was just a truly nice human being,” Souness, clearly emotional, said on Sky Sports.
“He was just fabulous to be around. He was such a fun-loving guy, full of mischief, wonderful footballer and a warm human being. People will say things about his magnificent football ability, and correctly so, but above all that what a human being.
“My condolences go to his family – the kids were blessed to have a dad like that, his wife was blessed to be married to a man like that.”