Former Chelsea striker and manager Gianluca Vialli has passed away at the age of 58 after losing his long-running battle with cancer.
Vialli was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer for a second time in 2021, having previously been given the all-clear in April 2020 following a 17-month struggle against the same condition.
Ruud Gullit tempted Vialli to Chelsea in 1996, as part of an exciting rebuild at Stamford Bridge, with the Italian named player-manager in 1998 at the age of 33 when the Dutch tactician was relieved of his duties.
Vialli guided the Blues to League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup glory and retired from playing in 1999 with 259 club goals to his name from 673 appearances.
As a manager, Vialli helped Chelsea to an FA Cup triumph in the last final played at the old Wembley Stadium in 2000, but was sacked just five games into the 2000-01 campaign.
Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali said: “This is truly an awful day for Chelsea Football Club. Gianluca’s legend will live on at Stamford Bridge.
“His impact as a player, a coach and most importantly as a person, will be forever written across our club’s history. We send our heartfelt and deepest condolences to his family and friends.”