Gianluca Vialli illness: Chelsea icon’s condition ‘worsens’ in cancer battle

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The latest on Gianluca Vialli’s condition as he battles pancreatic cancer

Concern for the health of Gianluca Vialli is growing after reports in Italy revealed that his mother and brother had travelled to London to visit him in hospital. The former Chelsea striker was met by his 87-year-old mother Maria Teresa and brother Nino who visited from Italy over the weekend as Vialli continued to receive treatment for pancreatic cancer.

The 58-year-old stepped down from his coaching position with the Italy national team to focus on his cancer battle - five years on from his initial diagnosis. Vialli revealed last December that he was suffering from the disease for a second time and was undergoing a second course of chemotherapy.

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In a statement made by the Italian last week, he said: “At the end of a long and difficult ‘negotiation’ with my wonderful team of oncologists I have decided to suspend, I hope temporarily, my present and future professional commitments. The goal is to use all the psycho-physical energies to help my body overcome this phase of the disease, so that I will be able as soon as possible to face new adventures and share them with all of you.”

Tributes and messages of support have flooded in for Vialli since he confirmed his decision to leave the Italy set-up, including from former Chelsea defender John Terry. The 42-year-old posted a photo of his old captain on Twitter with a caption that read: “Sending my Love and Best Wishes to Gianluca Vialli. The man that gave me my debut and believed in me.”

Gianluca Vialli’s career highlights

Gianluca Vialli began his career with his boyhood club Cremonese where he spent six years before being snapped up by Sampdoria, where he won the Serie A, three Italian Cups and the European Cup Winners Cup. The striker’s impressive record earned him a world record £12.5 million move to Juventus in 1992 where he went onto win another Serie A title, the Italian Cup, the Italian SuperCup, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup - scoring 53 goals and providing 23 assists during his four year stint in Turin.

Despite reaching his early 30s, Vialli then joined Chelsea on a free transfer in 1996 and scored an impressive 40 goals in 87 appearances, while also taking up a role as a player-manager at Stamford Bridge. Vialli won the FA Cup, League Cup, Charity Shield, Super Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup during his highly successful stay in the English capital. Vialli is currently the second most decorated Chelsea manager in history with five trophies.

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Vialli ended his managerial career after he was sacked by Watford after a year in charge. He then went on to take up a coaching role alongside his former teammate Roberto Mancini at Italy - whom he represented at two World Cups. The former attacker celebrated Italy’s Euro 2020 victory last summer before it was confirmed that his cancer had returned. Vialli now remains in London with his wife Cathryn White-Cooper, a British former model, and his two young daughters - 20 years on from his Chelsea departure.

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