Former Chelsea striker and manager Gianluca Vialli has died at the age 58.
Vialli was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 but after saying in April 2020 that he had been given the all-clear, he was re-diagnosed in 2021.
He announced a temporary leave from his role with Italy’s national team in December to focus on his health.
“Gianluca was a splendid person and he leaves a void that cannot be filled,” said Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina.
“I hoped until the end that he would be able to perform another miracle. Yet I am comforted by the certainty that what he did for Italian football and the blue shirt will never be forgotten.”
Vialli played 59 times for Italy, making his debut in 1985, a year after joining Sampdoria where he would win the Serie A title and European Cup Winners’ Cup during eight seasons with the club.
He also helped Sampdoria reach the 1992 European Cup final but after losing to Ajax, he moved to Juventus for a then world record fee of £12m. Vialli spent four seasons with Juve, winning the Champions League, Uefa Cup and Serie A titles.
He joined Chelsea on a free transfer in 1996 and became player-manager in 1998.
Vialli was the first Italian to manage a Premier League side, taking over from the sacked Ruud Gullit late in the season, and went on to lead the Blues to victory in the League Cup, Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup and Uefa Super Cup.
He also guided Chelsea to victory in the 2000 FA Cup final and Charity Shield but was sacked early in the following season after a poor start.
The striker also had a short spell at Watford, then in the second tier, during the 2001-02 season but was dismissed after the Hornets only finished 14th.