Former Sampdoria, Juventus, and Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli has passed away at the age of 58. Doctors diagnosed the Italian with pancreatic cancer in 2017. Although Vialli claimed that he was well a year later, the cancer returned in 2021. Health issues forced the former striker to leave his role as delegation chief of the Italy national team last month.

Following the unfortunate news, Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina issued a stated about Vialli. “Gianluca was a splendid person and he leaves a void that cannot be filled,” said 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.”

Former clubs issue heartfelt statements

Vialli’s former clubs also issued official statements on the striker. Sampdoria, the team where he spent most of his career with, proclaimed that they would never forget Vialli.

“We won’t forget your 141 goals , your overhead kicks, your cashmere shirts, your earring, your platinum blonde hair, your Ultras bomber jacket. You gave us so much, we gave you so much: yes, it was love, reciprocal, infinite. A love that will not die today with you,” read the statement.

Chelsea praised Vialli’s courage and humor. The Premier League side also stated that the striker had a place among the team’s greats. “A brilliant striker, a trophy-winning manager and a wonderful man, Luca’s place in the pantheon of Chelsea greats is assured. He will be deeply missed,” claimed the west London club.

Gianluca Vialli scored goals and won trophies

Vialli began his playing career with Cremonese before switching to Serie A teams Sampdoria and Juventus. The striker’s final move as a player was to Chelsea in 1996. Vialli managed to collect a plethora of trophies during his illustrious career. This includes Serie A, Coppa Italia, FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.

Individually, Vialli was an excellent goalscorer. In fact, he racked up over 250 club goals throughout his playing career. He also picked up 59 caps for the Italian national team as well, scoring 16 goals for his country.

There will be a minute’s silence before all Italian matches this weekend in the memory of Vialli.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Allstar