Chelsea plans for Gianluca Vialli tributes at next two matches after FA blessing

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Chelsea plans for Gianluca Vialli tributes at next two matches after FA blessing
Chelsea plans for Gianluca Vialli tributes at next two matches after FA blessing

Chelsea will pay their respects to Gianluca Vialli at the Etihad this afternoon, and again at Stamford Bridge next Sunday, with a minute’s applause, warm-up T-shirts bearing his old No.9 and by wearing black armbands during both games.

The charismatic Italian, who spent more than four years with the Blues as a player, player-manager and then manager, and continued to live in Chelsea, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Friday aged just 58. And his old club have been given the blessing of today’s FA Cup third-round opponents Manchester City and the FA to mark his passing this afternoon, and they will repeat their tributes at their home clash with Crystal Palace a week today.

Tributes have poured in for the former Cremonese, Sampdoria, Juventus and Chelsea striker, who won 59 caps for his country and was Roberto Mancini’s assistant when Italy when Euro 2020 at Wembley.

His old Chelsea team-mate Scott Minto said: “He didn’t speak English when he arrived and he had these children’s books. It was almost like, ‘The cat jumped over the dog’, that sort of level.

“And we were nudging each other saying, ‘It’ll be a year before we can have a proper conversation with him’.

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“But within three to six months he was fluent and I’ve never seen someone go from scratch to fluent so quickly. That showed the mentality of the guy — once he put his mind to something, he did it.

Chelsea plans for Gianluca Vialli tributes at next two matches after FA blessingGianluca Vialli celebrates at Wembley after Italy defeated England in a penalty shootout to win the European Championship.

“He was just an incredible man because he was a world-class player but he was still so humble. He was one of the best-dressed people you’d ever meet, he always had a smile on his face and you didn’t have to turn round to know he’d walked into a room.

“You could ping the ball to him anywhere and he wasn’t the tallest but he could bring it down with two centre-halves hanging off him. Left foot, right foot… he didn’t have to switch it to his favoured foot, either, he could use both.

“I’ve always thought that if that was how good he was late in his career then imagine how good he was in his prime.

“He was a world-class player and an even better man.”

Tom Hopkinson

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation