Chelsea legend Gianluca Vialli dies aged 58 after brave cancer battle
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Graeme Souness broke down in tears as he paid his tribute to former team-mate Gianluca Vialli, who has died at the age of 58. The former Scotland midfielder’s interview with Sky Sports News was cut short when discussing the late Italian.
Former Chelsea and Italy striker Vialli has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. The news of his death was announced on Friday morning.
He was initially diagnosed with the illness in 2017 before being given the all-clear three years later. However, late in 2021, he announced the cancer had returned.
Vialli stood down from his role with the Italian FA in 2022 as his condition worsened. Souness appeared on Sky to pay tribute to Vialli, whom he played alongside for a couple of years at Sampdoria between 1984 and 1986.
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He was clearly emotional at the beginning of the interview. Souness said: “I only heard the news… sorry. I only heard the news 10 minutes ago and I can’t tell you how good a guy he was. Forget football for a minute, he was just a gorgeous soul.
“He was just a truly nice human being. I went to Italy when I was 31 years old and he was 20. He was just fabulous to be around.
“He was such a fun-loving guy, he was full of mischief, he was such a warm individual and a fabulous player. But I don’t want to talk about his football, I want to talk about him as a human being.
“When I hear his name, and I’m gonna hear a lot of his name, correctly so with people playing plaudits to him and saying magnificent things about his playing ability, yeah. But what a human being.
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“Above all that, what a human being. My condolences go to his family and his wife. They’ve been blessed that their paths crossed, the kids were blessed they had a dad like that, his wife was blessed she was married to a man like that.”
But after speaking for over eight minutes, Souness was overcome with emotion. When discussing Vialli’s battle with cancer, he said: “It was his fight, he wanted to deal with it himself, he didn’t want to burden other people with it… sorry.”
The pundit then broke down in tears before presenter Hayley McQueen stepped in to stop the interview and thank Souness for his words. McQueen said: “Graeme, we’re going to leave it there, I’m so sorry for you for your loss of your former team-mate and your friend.
“We’re ever so grateful, I’m sure those who are watching will be so grateful that you’ve managed to share such heartfelt memories of Gianluca Vialli.”
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