Football world in mourning after devastating death of Gianluca Vialli

Gianluca Vialli, pictured here before the UEFA Nations League match between Italy and England in 2022.
Gianluca Vialli looks on before the UEFA Nations League match between Italy and England in 2022. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Tributes have been paid to former Italy, Juventus and Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli, who has died at the age of 58 following a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Italian Football Federation said Vialli's death left an "unfillable void", while Chelsea co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali described an "awful day", and vowed Vialli's legacy would be "forever written" at the club.

Vialli, who went on to enjoy huge success as manager at Stamford Bridge following his glittering playing career, was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 and announced he had been given the all-clear in 2020 after treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

He was re-diagnosed with the disease in 2021 and revealed last month that he had stepped down from his role as Italy's national team delegation chief.

During a 16-year playing career in Italy, Vialli won every major trophy on offer, including Serie A titles with Sampdoria (1991) and Juventus (1995), the Champions League with the latter in 1996, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. He was also a four-time Coppa Italia winner.

He scored 16 goals in 59 appearances for Italy, featured in the 1986 and 1990 World Cups, while his Stg 12.5million ($A22.0 million) transfer from Sampdoria to Juventus in 1992 was a world record fee at the time.

Vialli joined Chelsea in 1996 and helped them win the FA Cup at the end of his first season before guiding the London club to glory in both the League Cup and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup as player-manager the following season.

Floral tributes for former Chelsea striker and manager Gianluca Vialli, pictured here at Stamford Bridge.
A man looks back to a photo as floral tributes are shown for former Chelsea striker and manager Gianluca Vialli at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The Italian Football Federation said all matches under its jurisdiction this weekend would be preceded by a minute's silence in honour of Vialli.

The Federation's president Gabriele Gravina said in a statement: "I am deeply saddened - I hoped until the last that he could 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.

"Gianluca was a wonderful person and leaves an unfillable void, in the national team and in all those who appreciated his extraordinary human qualities."

Juventus said: "We loved everything about you, absolutely everything - your smile, your being a star and leader at the same time, on the pitch and in the dressing room, your adorable swashbuckling ways, your culture, your class, which you showed until the last day in the black and white stripes."

Gianluca Vialli, pictured here in London with his wife and a friend.
Gianluca Vialli in London with his wife and a friend. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Football world mourns death of Gianluca Vialli

Graeme Souness, who played alongside Vialli at Sampdoria, was visibly emotional as he recalled his relationship with his former teammate on Sky Sports.

"I can't tell you how good a guy he was," said Souness. "Forget football, he was just a gorgeous soul. He was just a truly nice human being.

"He was just fabulous to be around. He was such a fun-loving guy, full of mischief, wonderful footballer and a warm human being.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke, a former teammate of Vialli at Stamford Bridge, said: "Gianluca was a pleasure to play alongside and an even greater pleasure to have known.

His achievements speak for themselves not just at Chelsea - where he will be revered and remembered forever - but throughout his decorated career.

He was one of the greatest strikers of his and any other generation. Above all he was a good man."

After leaving team management, Vialli co-founded sports investment firm Tifosy Capital. He leaves a wife and two daughters.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

With Press Association

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.