Former Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli has died at the age of 58.
The Italian Football Federation praised him as “a great man, a terrific striker, and a highly-regarded manager” in a statement announcing his death.
Vialli was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer again in 2021 after previously being treated for the illness for three years until 2020, and while he was present for Italy’s 1-0 Nations League win over England, the physical toll of the sickness was palpable.
The football world began to fear the worst when it was revealed that Vialli’s 87-year-old mother, Maria Teresa, had traveled from Italy to London to be by her son’s hospital bedside.
The Italian Football Federation issued the following statement on Friday morning: “Gianluca always fought with dignity and the entire blue family to give him courage during a time of silent but immense agony. Italian football is mourning not only the head of the national team delegation, but also a great man who was a brilliant striker and a highly renowned manager before that.”
“Vialli’s death leaves an unfillable void in the whole family of Italian football. To remember him, the Federation has arranged a minute’s silence to be observed before all the matches scheduled for next weekend.”
Tributes were paid quickly by Sampdoria and Juventus, the clubs for which Vialli made his name; Chelsea, where he played and managed; and Watford, where he was also briefly in charge.