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Italian media pay emotional tributes to Azzurri legend Gianluca Vialli following his passing

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Italian media pay emotional tributes to Azzurri legend Gianluca Vialli following his passing

‘Thank you, for everything’: Italian media pay emotional tribute to Azzurri legend and ‘genius’ Gianluca Vialli following his death aged 58 after a battle with pancreatic cancer

Italian media have paid tribute to Gianluca Vialli after the former Juventus, Sampdoria and Italy striker passed away aged 58 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Vialli was first diagnosed with cancer in 2017, but revealed that he had been given the all-clear in April 2020. However, the cancer returned in December 2021, forcing him to leave his post with the Italy team and after being admitted in a London hospital last month, he died surrounded by his family on Thursday night.

Vialli had a glittering playing career, with one of his career highlights coming in 1996 when he captained Juventus to Champions League glory.

Tuttosport included the headline 'Thank you, for everyone' as they paid tribute to Vialli

Corriere dello Sport put the image of Vialli and Roberto Mancini hugging after Italy's Euro 2020 win on their front page

Tuttosport went with the headline ‘Thank you, for everyone’ as they paid tribute to Vialli, while Corriere dello Sport used an image of Vialli and Roberto Mancini embracing

Vialli learned to embrace his illness and left behind an athletic and spiritual legacy

Vialli was a key figure in Italy’s run to victory at Euro 2020, serving as their head of delegation

La Gazzetta dello Sport dubbed Vialli 'The genius friend' following his passing

La Gazzetta dello Sport dubbed Vialli ‘The genius friend’ following his passing

Tuttosport included a photo of Vialli lifting the trophy in triumph on their front page on Saturday morning, with the caption ‘Thank you, for everyone’.

Vialli also enjoyed a hugely successful spell at Sampdoria which saw him win the Coppa Italia three times and the club’s first and only Serie A title in 1991.

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His breakthroughs at Sampdoria led to Juventus paying a world-record £12.5m fee for him in 1992, and he spent four years with the Bianconeri, winning another Scudetto, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup before his playing days at Chelsea ended.

Vialli also went to two World Cups with Italy as a player, and was brought back into the national team set-up by his long-time friend Roberto Mancini in 2019 to be part of the former Manchester City manager’s backroom staff.

Together they led Italy to Euro 2020 glory, and the pair shared an emotional embrace after beating England in the final on penalties at Wembley.

Vialli won the Champions League with Juventus in 1996

He scored 53 goals in 145 matches for Juventus

Vialli achieved success at all his clubs as a player, but at Juventus won the Champions League in 1996 losing the 1992 final to Sampdoria

Vialli (right) and Roberto Mancini (left) are known as 'The Goal Twins' at Sampdoria

Vialli (right) and Roberto Mancini (left) are known as ‘The Goal Twins’ at Sampdoria

Corriere dello Sport chose that photo on their front page, and chose the headline: ‘A hug forever’.

Italy’s win at the delayed Euros was a significant moment for Vialli, who has worked his way back from cancer treatment to return to the dugout.

Vialli is a hugely popular figure in the Italian dressing room, adored by the players and his fellow coaches, leading La Gazzetta dello Sport to sum him up as ‘The genius friend’ on their front cover, along with Vialli smiling as he holds the Euros. trophy.

The paper also describes him as a ‘champion’ player and person, showing how he was loved on and off the pitch.

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His family first confirmed his death on Friday, writing: ‘We are grateful to the many who have supported him over the years with their love. The memory of him and his example will live forever in our hearts.’

Fans left a supportive banner outside the hospital where Vialli was being treated

Fans left a supportive banner outside the hospital where Vialli was being treated

He represented Italy at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups, won the Champions League with Juventus in 1996 and gained fame in England during a short spell at Stamford Bridge.

Vialli would serve as Chelsea player-manager and then manager, leading them to the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the League Cup in 1998, along with the FA Cup in 2000.

Following the news, Chelsea tweeted in tribute: ‘You will be missed so much. A legend to us and to all football. Rest in peace, Gianluca Vialli.’

Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali then added: ‘This is truly a terrible day for Chelsea Football Club.

Gianluca’s legend will live on at Stamford Bridge.

‘His impact as a player, a coach and above all as a person, will forever be written in the history of our club. We send our heartfelt and deepest condolences to his family and friends.’