The world of football is in mourning today after the news broke of the untimely passing of Italian football legend Gianluca Vialli.
One of the most popular players of his generation, he lit up both Serie A and the Premiership, before going on to have managerial spells at Chelsea and Watford.
Most recently, you would have seen him provide some memorable moments in the aftermath of Italy's Euro 2020 triumph. As part of the Italian coaching staff alongside lifelong friend Roberto Mancini, he was an important figure within the camp.
This will be forever in my head.
Vialli and his very good friend Mancini, in tears, after Italy won the Euros.
Today is a very sad day.
— Sacha Pisani (@Sachk0) January 6, 2023
He had been battling illness in the years building up to that tournament, having originally been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017. While he was given the all-clear in 2020, the disease would re-emerge in 2021.
It was announced this morning that he had passed away at the age of 58.
Graeme Souness pays tribute to Gianluca Vialli
You will hear no shortage of tributes paid to the great man in the coming days, but they will do well to top the one put forward by Graeme Souness on Sky Sports this morning.
The Scot played alongside Gianluca Vialli at Sampdoria back in the 1980s and clearly struck up quite a bond with his teammate that lasted until the present day.
He was hesitant to discuss Vialli as a footballer, instead stressing what a remarkable person he was.
Graeme Souness with a touching tribute to his friend Gianluca Vialli ❤️ pic.twitter.com/jqNmxJq0MP
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 6, 2023
I only heard the news ten minutes ago. I can't tell you how good of a guy he was.
Forget about football for a minute, he was just a gorgeous soul and 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, such a fun loving guy, he was full of mischief, he was such a warm individual and a fabulous player.
I don't want to talk about his football, I want to talk about him as a human being. I don't remember that about him when I hear his name. I'm going to hear his name a lot now and correctly so, people will be paying plaudits to him and people saying about his playing ability. 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 to have a dad like that and his wife was blessed that she was married to a man like that.
A touching tribute.
Football has certainly lost one of its greatest characters.