By Emmanuel Adeleke
Former Italy and Chelsea striker, Gianluca Vialli, has died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
The 58-year-old Vialli was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 and for a second time in 2021, shortly after Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph.
He left his role with Italy in December, citing his need to undergo treatment for the ailment.
Vialli played for Cremonese, Sampdoria and Juventus before joining Chelsea in 1996.
In 1998 he became player-manager of the Blues following the departure of Ruud Gullit and led the club to glory in the League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
Vialli finished his playing career at the end of the 1998/99 season to focus on management and Chelsea went on to win the FA Cup and Community Shield in 2000 under the Italian, before he was sacked in the early part of 2000/01 season.
Vialli played 59 times for Italy, scoring 16 goals, and had been the national side’s head of delegation since the appointment of Roberto Mancini as manager.
Vialli is survived by his wife, Cathryne White Cooper, and their two daughters, Olivia and Sofia.