Chelsea have paid tribute to Gianluca Vialli, who has died.
Vialli, who was 58, played for and managed the Blues and was a hugely popular figure among fans,
He played 59 times for Italy and his illustrious career also included spells at Juventus and Sampdoria.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 but said in April 2020 that he had been given the all-clear.
Vialli was re-diagnosed in 2021 and in December 2022 left a role with Italy’s national team to focus on his health.
Vialli joined Chelsea in 1996 and became player-manager in 1998 following the sacking of Ruud Gullit.
Chelsea won the FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup and Uefa Super Cup under him. He was sacked in 2000.
A club statement said: “A brilliant striker, a trophy-winning manager and a wonderful man, Luca’s place in the pantheon of Chelsea greats is assured. He will be deeply missed.”
Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola, who was a club and international team-mate of Vialli and then played under him, said: “Together we won many matches and shared some of the best moments of our lives.
“For the love of our ball we have often clashed. With no quarter, but always with the utmost respect. Because, in the end, we were always ourselves: two Italian boys and a ball.”