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Chelsea legend Gianluca Vialli steps away from Italy role with immediate effect to focus on second battle with cancer

CHELSEA legend Gianluca Vialli has stepped down from his role with the Italian national team in order to focus on a battle with cancer.

Vialli, 58, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 before being given the all-clear in 2020.

Gianluca Vialli during his Chelsea playing days
Vialli is stepping back from his role with Italy after his cancer returned

However, it returned in 2021, and he has now confirmed he will be stepping back from all “professional commitments.”

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.”

Vialli was a key part of Roberto Mancini’s coaching staff on their way to winning Italy the European Championships in 2021.

Speaking about return of his cancer last year, Vialli struck a defiant tone and declared he was determined to stay in the Italy set up.

He said: “I feel good, but my journey is not yet complete.

“The unwanted guest, as I call it, is still here with me. At this moment I am in maintenance mode.

“The tumour is still there. At times it is more noticeable, at others less so

“I will keep fighting, because I want to be here for many more years. I want you to have to put up with me for a long time to come.

“I take that strength from my family, friends, and all those who give me such courage. I can’t thank them enough.”

The president of the Italian Football Federation, Gabriele Gravina, thanked Vialli for his services and said the entire federation would support him in his recovery.

He said: “Gianluca is an absolute protagonist of the Italian national team and will be in the future.

“Thanks to his extraordinary strength of spirit, the Azzurri and the affection of the whole federal family, I am convinced he will be back soon. 

“He can count on each of us, because we are a team, on and off the pitch.”

Vialli scored 40 goals in 87 appearances for the Blues over three years at the club.

He retired at Stamford Bridge in 1999.

Prior to his stint with Chelsea, the Italian was best known for his exploits in Serie A for Sampdoria and Juventus, winning the league with both and winning a Champions League with the Old Lady.

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