'A gorgeous soul' - Souness breaks down in tears as he pays tribute to friend and former team-mate Vialli

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Graeme Souness broke down in tears when paying tribute to the “gorgeous soul” that was his friend and former Sampdoria team-mate Gianluca Vialli.
  • Ex-Italy striker passed away at age of 58
  • Long-running battle with cancer
  • Emotional tributes have flooded in

WHAT HAPPENED? The ex-Chelsea, Juventus and Italy striker lost his fight against pancreatic cancer on January 6, 2023, leading to an outpouring of emotion from across the world of football. Souness is among those to have spoken in glowing terms about a man who was as good a person as he was a footballer, with the Scot becoming overwhelmed with emotion when discussing a colleague he held in the highest regard.

WHAT THEY SAID: Souness told Sky Sports of Vialli as the tears began to flow: “I can’t tell you how good a guy he was. Forget football for a minute, he was just a gorgeous soul, he was a truly nice human being. I went to Italy when I was 31 years old and he was 20 and 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. If you were in his company for 10-15 minutes once, I think you remember him for the rest of your life. He was just a special person.”

Souness added on learning that Vialli had passed away at the age of 58: “I'm not a doctor, but when I looked at him I thought I saw a man who was still in the fight when he was here in the Euros. I think it's so typical of him that he kept it so private, so personal and he took it on as I would expect him to take it on. It was his fight, he wanted to deal with it himself. He didn't want to burden other people with it.”

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Vialli formed part of Italy’s backroom staff as they claimed glory at Euro 2020, with another former Sampdoria team-mate – Roberto Mancini – overseeing that triumph as head coach.


Gianluca Vialli gfx

Gianluca Vialli

Graeme Souness

WHAT NEXT? During a distinguished playing and coaching career Vialli took in spells with Cremonese, Sampdoria, Juventus and Chelsea, winning Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia, Champions League, UEFA Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup, League Cup and FA Cup while also earning 59 caps for his country.