Fears are growing for Gianluca Vialli’s health after his mother and brother traveled to London to visit him in hospital where he is being treated for pancreatic cancer, according to Italian media reports.
The former Chelsea player and coach, 58, quit coaching Italy last week to focus on fighting the disease, which was re-diagnosed last year.
Corriere della Sera reports that his 87-year-old mother, Maria Teresa, and brother Nino flew to the UK to be with him for the weekend before flying back to Italy yesterday.
Vialli is married to Catherine White Cooper, a former British model, and they have two young daughters. The Italian has lived in southwest London since leaving Chelsea 20 years ago.
Gianluca Vialli’s mother rushed to London to visit him in hospital amid his battle with cancer. He was pictured in September watching Italy in the Nations League match against Hungary
Gianluca Vialli with his wife Catherine White Cooper, whom he married in August 2003
John Terry has sent a message of support to his old boss at Chelsea after leaving the Italian coaching staff
Vialli was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017, but after receiving treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital, it was announced in April 2020 that he had received a full medical certificate.
He went on to play a key role in Italy’s success at Euro 2020 in England under coach Roberto Mancini, a close friend and former teammate.
But shortly after the victory, Vialli was informed that the cancer had returned.
So the former Italy international decided to step down as his country’s coach and instead focus his entire efforts on beating them again, returning to the same London hospital where he had previously undergone chemotherapy to do so.
Tribute poured in for Vialli when his decision to leave the Azzurri coach was confirmed last week, including from former Chelsea captain John Terry.
Terry, who was made his Blues debut by former player and manager Vialli, posted a picture of his old manager. on Twitter He wrote: I send my love and best wishes to Gianluca Vialli.
“The man who gave me the first time and believed in me.”
Gianluca Vialli and his wife Catherine White Cooper party at the Billionaire’s Club, Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy in 2010
Vialli was a key figure in Italy’s run to win Euro 2020, but the focus must now be on his health
Vialli is married to Katherine White Cooper and they have been together since 2003 when they tied the knot.
He also received a touching message from his old Italy teammate Antonio Cabrini, who urged him not to give up in his second battle against cancer.
‘Dear Gianluca,’ said Caprini’s letter, ‘when I read in the paper that you had given up your role as head of the delegation [national team] My heart sank.
Knowing your exceptional connection to Maglia Azzurra [blue jersey], you understood that such a step on your part can have only one meaning: the game you are playing requires a lot of effort! The opponent, whom she calls an “unwanted traveling companion,” plays dirty, like a defender who sinks into a tackle, not to win the ball, but to hurt the opponent.
“So, as your comrade friend, I write to give you courage.”
Gabriele Gravina, President of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), said of Vialli: “Gianluca is the absolute protagonist of the Italian national team and he will be in the future.
Gianluca Vialli and his wife Catherine White Cooper at the wedding of Tamara Beckwith and Giorgio Ferrone in the Redentore Church, Venice, Italy, on August 27, 2007
He appeared on the touchline as a coach during a Nations League match against England on September 23 at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan.
Viale’s nephew Maafu Giume took to Instagram to urge him to never give up his fight
“With his extraordinary strength of spirit, the Azzurri, and the affection of the entire Federal family, I am convinced he will soon return.
“He can count on each and every one of us, because we are a team on and off the field.”
Speaking about the return of his cancer in 2021, Vialli confirmed that he has improved a lot and is determined to stay by Mancini’s side for years to come.
I will continue to fight, because I want to stay here for many more years. He said, “I want you to bear with me for a long time to come.”
Vialli joined Chelsea from Juventus in 1996 on a free transfer and played his last game in the 1998-99 season, scoring the winning goal against Derby County.
He continued to manage the club before his dismissal in September 2000 after a dispute with key players, including Gianfranco Zola and Didier Deschamps.
He started managing Watford in 2001 – during which time he moved briefly to Hampstead – but was sacked a year later.
Vialli evades a tackle during the Coca-Cola Cup Third Round match against Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge in 1997
Vialli is known for his powerful personality and active presence on the touchline
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