Gianluca Vialli

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Gianluca Vialli
Personal information
Full name Gianluca Vialli
Date of birth (1964-07-09) 9 July 1964 (age 50)
Place of birth Cremona, Italy
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1973–1978 Pizzighettone
1978–1980 Cremonese
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1980–1984 Cremonese 105 (23)
1984–1992 Sampdoria 223 (85)
1992–1996 Juventus 102 (38)
1996–1999 Chelsea 58 (21)
Total 488 (167)
National team
1983–1986 Italy U21 20 (11)
1985–1992 Italy 59 (16)
Teams managed
1998–2000 Chelsea
2001–2002 Watford
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Gianluca Vialli (born 9 July 1964 in Cremona) is an Italian football manager and former player. Since retiring, he has gone into management and punditry and is a commentator for Sky Sport Italia.

Vialli started his career at Cremonese in 1980 in his native Italy where he made 105 league appearances scoring 23 goals. His performances impressed Sampdoria who signed him in 1984. During which time he scored 85 league goals, won 3 Italian cups, the Serie A and the European Cup Winners Cup. Vialli transferred to Juventus for a World record £12.5 million in 1992. During this time he won the Italian Cup, the Serie A, Italian Supercup, UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup. In 1996 Vialli joined Chelsea and became Chelsea player manager the following season. In England he won the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Super Cup. He is one of nine footballers to have won the three main European club competitions and is the only player in European footballing history to have winner's and runner's up medals in all three main European club competitions. During his twenty years long career as a professional footballer he has scored 259 goals at club level, 16 goals with the national team, 11 goals with the under 21 national team for a total of 286 goals in more than 500 appearances.

Club career[edit]

Vialli's career started in 1980 when, he signed for local club Cremonese. After scoring ten goals for the club in the 1983–84 season, he was transferred to Sampdoria.


At Sampdoria he formed a prolific strike partnership with team mate and childhood friend Roberto Mancini, earning the nickname The Goal Twins. With Vialli at his best, Sampdoria had the most successful era in its history. They won their first ever Serie A championship in the 1990–91 season, in which Vialli was league top scorer with 19 goals - celebrating many of his goals with a backflip, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1990) – where he scored both goals in the 2–0 win over Anderlecht in the final, and three Italian Cups (in 1985, 1988 and 1989). They also reached the European Cup final in 1992, losing to Spain's Barcelona 1-0.


He moved to Juventus shortly after the European Cup final loss for a world record fee of £12.5million. Vialli won the UEFA Cup in his first season with Juventus playing alongside Roberto Baggio. He won another Scudetto and Italian Cup with Juve in 1995, scoring 16 goals during the season, but Juve were denied a treble after defeat in the 1995 UEFA Cup Final to Parma, despite Vialli scoring a spectacular second leg goal. He ended his time in Turin by captaining the side to a Champions League final win over Ajax Amsterdam in 1996, playing alongside Del Piero and Fabrizio Ravanelli.


Vialli joined Chelsea in the summer of 1996 for £600 000 a year (after rejecting an offer from Rangers) as part of manager Ruud Gullit's cosmopolitan rebuilding of the side, and won the FA Cup in his first season, including two goals in a spectacular 4–2 comeback over Liverpool in the fourth round. However, a feud with Gullit saw him regularly left out of the starting line-up; in the final itself he was limited to a five-minute cameo appearance as a late substitute.

During the 1997–98 season, Vialli scored four goals in a league win over Barnsley and a hat-trick against Norwegian side Tromsø in the Cup Winners' Cup, but still couldn't cement his place in the side under Gullit.

Managerial career[edit]


Gullit was sacked in February 1998 and 33-year-old Vialli was appointed player-manager. Chelsea were already in the semi-finals of the League Cup and the quarter finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup, and went on to win both competitions under Vialli, as well as finishing 4th in the Premier League. In beating VfB Stuttgart at the Cup Winners' Cup final on 13 May 1998, 33 years and 308 days old Vialli became the youngest manager to ever win a UEFA competition. The record stood for thirteen years until 18 May 2011 when FC Porto's André Villas-Boas won the Europa League at the age of 33 years and 213 days. Coincidentally, Villas-Boas would eventually go on to manage Chelsea.

The following season Chelsea won the European Super Cup by beating Real Madrid 1–0, and finished 3rd in the Premier League, just four points behind champions Manchester United in what was Chelsea's highest league finish since 1970. Vialli made his final competitive appearance for the club against Derby County at the end of that season (a game in which he scored),[1] finishing his Chelsea career with 83 appearances and 40 goals.

The following season saw Chelsea reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League on their debut in the competition, the highlight of which was a 3–1 quarterfinal first leg victory over FC Barcelona, although they were eventually knocked out on aggregate following a 5-1 return leg loss at Camp Nou that needed extra time. Despite a disappointing 5th place finish in the Premier League, the campaign ended on a high note when Vialli guided Chelsea to a win over Aston Villa in the 2000 FA Cup final.

The 2000–01 season started brightly, with Chelsea beating Manchester United to win the FA Charity Shield, Vialli's fifth official trophy with the club in less than three years, making him the club's most successful manager at the time. But Vialli was sacked five games into the season after an indifferent start and having fallen out with several players, including Gianfranco Zola, Didier Deschamps and Dan Petrescu.


Vialli then took up an offer to manage First Division club Watford in 2001–02. Despite making wholesale and expensive changes to the playing and coaching staff, the Hertfordshire side finished an unimpressive 14th and Vialli was sacked after one year. Following this, he was drawn into a lengthy dispute with the club over the payment of the remainder of his contract.[1]

International career[edit]

Vialli was a member of Italy's under 21 team for both the 1984 and 1986 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championships where the Azzurrini finished third and second respectively. Overall Vialli represented the Italy U21 team 20 times, scoring 11 goals.[2]

In 1985, Vialli made his debut for the Italy senior team in a friendly match against Poland. He was included in Italy's squad for the 1986 FIFA World Cup held in Mexico, appearing with an all-shaved head as a substitute in all four of Italy's matches.[3]

Vialli scored his first goal for Italy in a UEFA Euro 1988 qualifier against Malta in 1986. He was included in Italy's squad for the finals of the competition and scored the winning goal against Spain in the group stage. Although Italy were knocked out by the Soviet Union in the semi-final after losing 0-2, Vialli was named in UEFA's team of the tournament.

With the 1990 FIFA World Cup being held on home soil, Vialli was expected to make a huge impact for the hosts.[4] However, after failing to score in the first match against Austria, despite setting up the winning goal via a beautifully created cross, Vialli missed a penalty against the United States in the next match, hitting the lower near post with Tony Meola diving the other way. He was subsequently dropped from the team in favour of Roberto Baggio and Salvatore Schillaci, who had scored the winning goal against Austria after appearing as a substitute.[5] Vialli returned to the team for the semi-final against Argentina and played a role in Italy's opening goal after his shot on goal was blocked by Argentina keeper Goycochea and the rebound fell to Schillaci. He was substituted in the second half as Italy were eliminated on penalties.[6] Because Italy assigned jersey numbers alphabetically to players for the World Cup (beginning with defenders, then midfielders, and finally attackers) Vialli wore the number 21 during the World Cup.

He returned to lead Italy's attack during the qualifying games to the Euro 1992 Championship, scoring in Italy's 3-1 win over Hungary and 2-0 win over Cyprus. However, Italy missed out on qualifying after finishing second behind the Soviet Union in Group 3.

Vialli made his last appearance for the Azzurri in December 1992, his strained relationship with coach Arrigo Sacchi bringing his international career to a premature end.[7] It is rumored that Vialli played a prank on Sacchi, which was the reason for his dropping from the national team.


In 2006, Vialli released The Italian Job: A Journey to the Heart of Two Great Footballing Cultures, co-written with his close friend and reputable football journalist, Gabriele Marcotti. Written over a period of two and a half years from November 2003 until early 2006, the book discusses the differences between English and Italian football. He also attributes his tendency to play as a wide attacker to playing on a field that was short and wide as a young boy. Vialli is donating the proceeds of the book to the "Fondazione Vialli e Mauro per la ricerca e lo sport", which is a charitable foundation he founded together with former player Massimo Mauro in order to raise funds for research into cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Since the late 2000s Vialli works as a TV football commentator for Sky Italia. In 2007 he was linked with a move to the managers position at Queens Park Rangers, following the club takeover by Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone and the dismissal of John Gregory as manager, but ultimately declined any interest in the job.[8] During Euro 2012, the 47-year-old former player appeared as pundit for BBC's coverage of the tournament.

Personal life[edit]

Vialli has been married to Cathryn White-Cooper since 26 August 2003 and has two children.[9] He is a keen golfer and has played at the Dunhill links championship pro-am event.

Career statistics[edit]


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1980–81 Cremonese Serie C1 2 0 2 0
1981–82 Serie B 31 5 5
1982–83 35 8 35 8
1983–84 37 10 2 12
1984–85 Sampdoria Serie A 28 3 6 9
1985–86 28 6 2 8
1986–87 28 12 4 16
1987–88 30 10 3 13
1988–89 30 14 13 1 1 5 33
1989–90 22 10 1 7 18
1990–91 26 19 3 1 23
1991–92 31 11 3 7 21
1992–93 Juventus Serie A 32 6 7 2 10 5 49 13
1993–94 10 4 2 0 12 4
1994–95 30 17 7 3 9 2 46 22
1995–96 30 11 1 1 7 2 38 14
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1996–97 Chelsea Premier League 28 9 1 2 29 11
1997–98 21 11 1 2 1 0 8 6 31 19
1998–99 9 1 3 2 5 6 1 1 18 10
Total Italy 410 146 42 2 2 29 219
England 58 21 5 6 6 6 9 7 78 40
Career total 468 167 48 8 8 36 259



National team
Year Matches Goals
1985 1 0
1986 10 0
1987 10 5
1988 11 5
1989 10 1
1990 3 0
1991 8 3
1992 6 2
Total 59 16






Managerial stats[edit]

Team Nat From To Record
G W L D Win %
Chelsea England 12 February 1998 12 September 2000 143 76 29 38 53.15
Watford England 1 June 2001 14 June 2002 52 20 21 11 38.46

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chelsea 2 Derby 1". Sporting Life. May 1999. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Vialli, from super-sub to player manager". BBC. 12 February 1998. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Gianluca Vialli » World Cup 1986 Mexico". Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Lessons in Calcio - Gianluca Vialli". 24 March 2009. 
  5. ^ "Once Out Of Doghouse, `Toto` Stars". The Baltimore Sun. 30 June 1990. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "1990 FIFA World Cup Italy ™ -". FIFA. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  7. ^ "Close-up: Gianluca Vialli: Revivalist at Bridgehead". The Independent. 19 May 1996. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "Vialli distances himself from QPR job". Reuters UK. 2 October 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-06-21. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Biography for Gianluca Vialli". Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "Gianluca Vialli - Goals in International Matches". Retrieved 10 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
France Jean-Pierre Papin
World football transfer record
Succeeded by
Italy Gianluigi Lentini
Preceded by
Roberto Baggio
Juventus captain
Succeeded by
Antonio Conte