Gianluca Vialli, a former Italy striker, passed away at the age of 58. Vialli, who had a distinguished playing career with Chelsea before taking over as the club’s manager, was receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer.
After making a name for himself in Serie A with Sampdoria and Juventus, Vialli began his career at his local club Cremonese. He then played his final game for Chelsea before transitioning into management and coaching. He played 59 times for Italy, scoring 16 goals, and was a member of the 1986 and 1990 World Cup sides.
He assisted former Sampdoria attack partner and national coach Roberto Mancini during Italy’s title-winning Euro 2020 campaign despite the disease.
In 2021, Italy was headed by Vialli and Mancini, who also won the title at Wembley Stadium, where their Sampdoria club had lost the European Cup final to Barcelona 29 years earlier.
In an emotional embrace to express their joy, they “were more beautiful than the hugs we used to give each other when I passed him the ball and he scored goals,” Vialli said in a November television interview with Italy’s RAI.
Recently, it was revealed that Vialli would give up his position as head of the Italian delegation to concentrate on his pancreatic cancer treatment. Vialli was expecting he would be able to regain his national-team role after recently reuniting with Roberto Mancini, his former Sampdoria strike partner, in the Italy setup.
After receiving a cancer diagnosis a year prior, Vialli revealed in November 2018 that he had undergone radiotherapy and chemotherapy. After receiving the all-clear in April 2020, he declared the sickness had returned in December 2021.
On December 14, Vialli explained his decision to halt his participation in Italy, saying: “The goal is to use all my psycho-physical energies to help my body overcome this phase of the disease, to be able to face new adventures as soon as possible and share them with all of you.”