Italy’s hidden tribute to Gianluca Vialli vs England after Chelsea icon’s death

Italy will honour the late, great Gianluca Vialli during tonight's clash with England in Naples, two-and-a-half months on from his passing.

The Italian football icon, who played for and managed Chelsea in the late 90s, died in January following a short battle with pancreatic cancer, aged 58.

To honour him, the words 'Luca, Azzurro per sempre' [Luca, forever a blue] will adorn the collars of the Italian players' shirts for tonight's Euro 2026 qualifier – a gesture well received by fans on social media.

READ MORE: Chelsea icon Gianluca Vialli grew up living in 60-room castle – then used it for holidays

"Class tribute to a fallen legend," one fan tweeted in response.

Another wrote: "Top player, top man, RIP Luca," while a third commented: "Just the sort of thing Luca deserves, hope England have sorted something similar."

Vialli first broke through at Cremonese in 1980 before sealing a career-defining switch to Sampdoria in 1984. After inspiring the club to its first ever Serie A triumph, he was snapped up Juventus in 1992 for a world record £12.5m fee.

Sum up Gianluca Vialli in three words for us in the comments section below.

He won another Serie A with Juventus as well as the UEFA Cup and the Champions League before seeing out his career at Chelsea, joining amidst something of foreign revolution at the club, with the likes of Ruud Gullit, Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Di Matteo, Marcel Desailly, Frank Leboeuf and Gus Poyet all signing around the same time.

As such, he took to the Premier League like a duck to water, scoring 30 goals in his first two seasons before taking on a player/manager role following the departure of Gullit in 1998.

He led to the Blues to FA Cup, League Cup, Cup Winners' Cup and Super Cup glory before departing in 2000, becoming (statistically) the most successful manager in the club's history at the time.

After nearly two decades away, he returned to the dugout as new delegation chief of the Italian national side, working under friend and former Sampdoria team-mate Roberto Mancini. Together they guided Italy to European Championship glory in 2021.

Following his death, Chelsea paid tribute to Vialli by erecting a massive banner in the stadium ahead of their clash against Crystal Palace, with Vialli's likeness as well as the words 'we love you, and we miss you' emblazoned on it.


  • Gianluca Vialli popped champagne for Chelsea players before match – sparking comeback

  • Gianluca Vialli's secret act that left Chelsea staff member speechless comes to light

  • Chelsea icon Gianluca Vialli was love machine who insisted 'sex keeps me scoring'

Source: Read Full Article