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OBITUARY: Gianluca Vialli was football's 'Lion King'

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OBITUARY: Gianluca Vialli was football's 'Lion King'

Gianluca Vialli, who has died aged 58, was a footballing popstar. Italian football will be left in mourning after the passing of its ‘Lion King’. It’s sad that a man who made you fall in love with football passed away so young.

If we want to sum up Vialli’s career, we can do it with the touching hug after the victory in the 2021 European Championship final – in that hug by Roberto Mancini there was love and friendship between two brothers with different mothers who lived in a big part of their lives. together

Gianluca – one of the few men to hold the role of player-manager at a top club during his time with Chelsea – may be reported as a prickly and snobbish man but he is full of heart and emotion.

Vialli with his wife Cathryn White-Cooper, whom he married in August 2003

Gianluca Vialli with his wife Cathryn White-Cooper, whom he married in August 2003

Italian footballing legend Gianluca Vialli has passed away at the age of 58 after a battle with pancreatic cancer

Vialli is a titan of the game and a footballing popstar who excelled in his career

Italian footballing legend Vialli has died aged 58 after a battle with pancreatic cancer

His greatest merit was to show his face to everyone while in pain by teaching dignity and respect because the pain he suffered should not be ashamed of.

Vialli did not want to shed tears at his funeral and would be angry if he saw them rolling down the cheeks of his fans.

He was always smiling, always hiding the pain and sadness of the pancreatic cancer he suffered because for him life was a continuous dance between the football match and dinner.

Speaking about his battle with cancer last year summed up that quality perfectly.

‘I am a player and a strong person but also a fragile one and I think someone who can recognize himself. I am here with my flaws, fears and desire to do something important.

Vialli and Mancini when the pair played together at Italian club Sampdoria

Vialli and Mancini when the pair played together at Italian club Sampdoria

‘I’m not fighting cancer because I don’t think I can beat it, it’s a stronger opponent than me. Cancer is an unwanted travel companion, but I can’t help it.

‘He got on the train with me and I had to go on, travel with my head down, not giving up, hoping that one day the unwanted guest would tire and let me live in peace for many years because there was so much more I wanted to do.’

He loves jokes and loves to laugh, like when he hid a piece of soft cheese in Arrigo Sacchi’s handkerchief at the training camp of the Italian team, laughing at his coach’s anger.

The former Italian football star is a character that transcends generations – he makes young and old fall in love, he creates unity where there used to be a divide, managing to bring everyone together with his shining eyes and the her beautiful smile.

Vialli died in London and is pictured here with his wife, Cathryn White-Cooper, at a charity ball in the city in 2013

Vialli died in London and is pictured here with his wife, Cathryn White-Cooper, at a charity ball in the city in 2013

Football has been difficult without its 'Lion King' and Vialli is full of heart and emotion

Football has been difficult without its ‘Lion King’ and Vialli is full of heart and emotion

Vialli and his wife Cathryn White-Cooper in 2019

Vialli and his wife Cathryn White-Cooper in 2019

During his career, Vialli played with some of the greatest players of all time.

From Baggio to Del Piero, from Desailly to Ciro Ferrara, from Mihajlovic to Peruzzi, from Vierchowod to Cerezo and he gave each of them a small part of his happy and passionate world, of his fast and exciting way of living by entering their hearts.

Vialli is a tamer of emotions who knows how to handle problems and people and is able to look like cancer in the face, laughing and crying with him.

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Vialli’s legacy is not only athletic but also spiritual as he embraced pain by simply trying to do his best while suffering.

He soon realizes that he can’t fight it but has to learn to live with it as much as possible.

Vialli is a smart man who understands that the fight has to be on the pitch to win a game, but outside the green grass is enough to have patience and a lot of attention in dealing with problems.

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

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

The Chelsea legend poses with the Charity Shield with Dennis Wise in 2000

The Chelsea legend poses with the Charity Shield with Dennis Wise in 2000

10 percent of life consists of unexpected events, the remaining 90 percent is a gym where you learn to deal with unpleasant events.

Vialli decided to cut his hair out of respect and love for his teammate Andrea Fortunato, who contracted Leukemia when they both played for Juventus. This is Vialli – a man of few words but very meaningful and deep gestures.

When Juventus returned to win the Scudetto number 23, with his superb performance at the ‘Delle Alpi’ in the 4-0 win against Parma, after a goal he ran to hug a young ball boy who approached him to celebrate

Vialli is a No 9 with the lungs of a No 8 and the intelligence of a No 10. The former Juventus star is an Italian who deserves glory, and he has shown it to the whole world.

Her beauty and her excellent restaurant, based in London, reflect the great beauty of Vialli who is above all an example of love and discipline.

When she was young, she loved to play with colors and fashion styles. In Italy he was among the first footballers to become a sex symbol with earrings and lightening blond hair when he played for Sampdoria.

All the girls loved him because he was against conformity. After Juventus wins, he likes to invite his teammates to his house and smoke, while taking part in karaoke.

He is a star but he shines brighter than all the other stars in the sky without ever arousing envy.

Vialli has reached all the targets in his career as a player and as a person. He won everything at Juventus and enjoyed the experience of a season abroad.

He married his wife Cathryn White Cooper in 2003 and has beautiful daughters, he has won and lost but always claims to have learned something new to enrich his wealth of experience.

The Italian also balanced the role of player-manager at Chelsea - an unprecedented challenge

During his playing career, Vialli became one of the first footballers to become a 'gender symbol'

The Italian also balanced the role of player-manager at Chelsea – an unprecedented challenge

His last wish was betrayed by the tragic events of his illness. Vialli wanted to return to the world of football and dreamed of leading the Sampdoria project, one of the teams he loved the most along with Juventus and Chelsea, but time did not allow him.

He would have wanted to be the heir of the historic President Mantovani at the helm of the club that he has always referred to as an important part of his family.

Today we have to honor his football love story, we have to gather around his beautiful family and remember him every day, running and working for him too.

Without asking anyone’s permission, Vialli spread a beautiful message of love and understanding of life.