Italian media pay emotional tributes to Azzurri legend Gianluca Vialli following his passing


‘Thank you, for everything’: Italian media pay emotional tributes to Azzurri legend and ‘genius’ Gianluca Vialli following his death at the age of 58 after a battle with pancreatic cancer

The Italian media have been paying tribute to Gianluca Vialli after the former Juventus, Sampdoria and Italy striker passed away at the age of 58 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Vialli was first diagnosed with cancer in 2017, but revealed he had been given the all-clear in April 2020. However, the cancer returned in December 2021, forcing him to leave his post with the Italy team and after being admitted to a London hospital last month, he died surrounded by his family on Thursday night.

Vialli had a glittering playing career, with one of his career highlights coming in 1996 when he captained Juventus to Champions League glory.

Corriere dello Sport put the image of Vialli and Roberto Mancini hugging after Italy's Euro 2020 win on their front page

Tuttosport went with the headline ‘Thank you,for everything’ as they paid tribute to Vialli, while Corriere dello Sport used the image of Vialli and Roberto Mancini embracing

Vialli learned to embrace his illness and leaves behind a sporting and spiritual legacy

 Vialli was a key figure in Italy’s run to winning Euro 2020, serving as their head of delegation

La Gazzetta dello Sport labelled Vialli 'The genius friend' following his passing

La Gazzetta dello Sport labelled Vialli ‘The genius friend’ following his passing

Tuttosport went with an image of Vialli lifting the trophy in triumph on their front page on Saturday morning, alongside the caption ‘Thank you, for everything’.

Vialli also enjoyed a hugely successful spell at Sampdoria which saw him win the Coppa Italia three times and the club’s first and only Serie A title in 1991.

His extraordinary achievements at Sampdoria led to Juventus paying a world-record £12.5m fee for him in 1992, and he spent four years with the Bianconeri, winning another Scudetto, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup before finishing his playing days at Chelsea.

Vialli also went to two World Cups with Italy as a player, and was brought back into the national team set-up by his long-time friend Roberto Mancini in 2019 to be part of the former Manchester City manager’s backroom staff.

Together they led Italy to glory at Euro 2020, and the pair shared an emotional embrace after beating England in the final on penalties at Wembley.

Vialli won the Champions League at Juventus in 1996

He scored 53 goals in 145 matches for Juventus

Vialli achieved success at all of his clubs as a player, but with Juventus won the Champions League in 1996 having lost the 1992 final at Sampdoria

Vialli (right) and Roberto Mancini (left) were known as 'The Goal Twins' at Sampdoria

Vialli (right) and Roberto Mancini (left) were known as ‘The Goal Twins’ at Sampdoria 

Corriere dello Sport opted for that image on their front page, and chose the headline: ‘A hug forever’.

Italy’s win at the delayed Euros was a significant moment for Vialli, having worked his way back from cancer treatment to return to the dugout.

Vialli was an extremely popular figure in the Italian dressing room, adored by the players and his fellow coaches, leading to La Gazzetta dello Sport summing him up as ‘The genius friend’ on their front cover, with Vialli smiling as he holds aloft the Euros trophy.

The paper also refer to him as a ‘champion’ player and man, highlighting how he was loved both on and off the pitch.

His family first confirmed his death on Friday, writing: ‘We thank the many who have supported him over the years with their affection. The memory of him and his example will live forever in our hearts.’

A supportive banner had been left by fans outside the hospital where Vialli was being treated

A supportive banner had been left by fans outside the hospital where Vialli was being treated

He represented Italy in the 1986 and 1990 World Cups, won the Champions League with Juventus in 1996 and gained popularity in England during a short spell at Stamford Bridge.

Vialli would serve as Chelsea’s player-manager and then manager, leading them to the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the League Cup in 1998, plus the FA Cup in 2000.

Following the news, Chelsea tweeted in tribute: ‘You’ll be missed by so many. A legend to us and to all of football. Rest in peace, Gianluca Vialli.’ 

Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali then added: ‘This is truly an awful day for Chelsea Football Club.

‘Gianluca’s legend will live on at Stamford Bridge. 

‘His impact as a player, a coach and most importantly as a person, will be forever written across our club’s history. We send our heartfelt and deepest condolences to his family and friends.’

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