CHRIS SUTTON: Gianluca Vialli is the only manager I feel I’ve failed in my career – he’s a great player and an absolute gentleman who helped me score one of the best goals of my career
- There is only one boss that I feel has failed me in my career – and that is Gianluca Vialli
- Gianluca convinced Chelsea to sign me from Blackburn Rovers for £10million
- After a rough first season, he put his arm around me and eased my conscience
- His diligence helped me score one of the best goals of my entire career for Celtic
- Vialli died at the age of 58 in a London hospital on Friday afternoon
There is only one manager who I feel has failed me in my career, and that is Gianluca Vialli, who passed away on Friday at the age of 58.
Gianluca convinced Chelsea to sign me from Blackburn Rovers. They paid £10million and I signed a six-year contract, with me and Gianluca posing together at Stamford Bridge, each holding one end of a scarf.
It was July 5, 1999 — the first day we met in person — and immediately this was a manager whose faith I wanted to repay with so many goals.
There is only one manager I feel has failed me in my career – and that is Gianluca Vialli (right)
Vialli, who died aged 58 on Friday, convinced Chelsea to sign me from Blackburn for £10 million.
As we know, that never happened. I had a difficult debut season in a Chelsea shirt. And anyway, Gianluca was very good to me. Some managers may have avoided me, criticized me in their press conferences, called me a waste of money.
But not Gianluca. He put his arm around me. He eased my conscience. He tried to make me feel like I wasn’t letting him go, even though I knew I was.
After training, Gianluca will stay to conduct one-on-one sessions. Sometimes our focus is on my end. Sometimes the runs I’m supposed to be doing. But I remember one volleying lesson clearly.
Gianluca told me that I was grabbing shots because of the times I was missing.
I struggled through a difficult debut season but his coaching in training helped me a lot
He said, with volleys, the trick is to slow it down, trust your technique and focus on the purity of the strike instead of trying to blast it.
Chelsea sold me to Celtic for £6m after one season. But I took Gianluca’s teachings and one of my best goals was a left-foot volley in a 4-3 Champions League victory against Juventus among all clubs.
I’m not sure Gianluca will thank me for it, but it was because of him that I was able to score that strike against his beloved Juve.
The tributes in today’s paper will tell you all you need to know about Gianluca. A great player. But a total gentleman. It was my privilege to see that part of him firsthand.
Vialli enjoyed a glittering career as both player and manager in England and in Italy (pictured)