After a struggle with cancer, the death of the former Italy striker

Gianluca Vialli, the former Italy striker who helped Sampdoria and Juventus win Serie A titles and European Championships before becoming a player-manager at Chelsea, has died. He was 58 years old.

The Italian Football Federation confirmed Vialli’s death on Friday.

Vialli announced in 2018 that he had overcome a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer, but then said in December 2021 that the disease had returned.

With his condition deteriorating, Vialli announced in mid-December that he would temporarily step down from his role as head of the Italy delegation.

Vialli was appointed head of the delegation under Roberto Mancini, the Azzurri coach, and his longtime friend and former teammate.

Known as the ‘Goal Twins’ when they played together at Sampdoria, Vialli and Mancini led the Genoa-based club to their only Serie A title in 1991 and their only European title in 1990 with the Cup of Champions – as well as four Coppa Italia titles.

Vialli and Mancini also led Sampdoria to the 1992 European Cup Final, which they lost to Barcelona at Wembley Stadium.

As head of the delegation, Vialli teamed up with Mancini to help Italy win the European Championship by defeating England on penalties at Wembley last year.

“We have a relationship that goes beyond friendship,” Mancini said during the Euros. “He is like a real brother to me.”

Vialli’s death comes three weeks after the departure of another great Serie A star, Sinisa Mihajlovic, who died after a long battle with leukemia.

Mihajlović also played for Mancini at Sampdoria after Vialli left the club for Juventus.

Vialli won the Serie A title again at Juventus, and also lifted the Champions League and UEFA Cup with the Bianconeri.

Vialli played for the Italian national team from 1985 to 1992, where he participated in 59 matches and scored 16 goals.

Vialli finished his football career with Chelsea management as well, and led the London club to the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup.

He continued to live in London after leaving Chelsea FC and turned to TV commentary and other projects.

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