Full Name : Gianluca Vialli
Date Of Birth: July 9, 1964
Place of Birth: Cremona, Italy
National Career: 1985-1992
Caps: 59 (16)
Gianluca Vialli (born July 9, 1964 in Cremona) is a retired Italian football striker and manager.
Vialli's career started in 1980 when, signing 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, 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 F.C. Barcelona.
While at Sampdoria, Vialli made his debut for Italy in a friendly match against Poland in 1985. He scored his first ever national goal in a Euro 88 qualification match against Malta in 1986. He was included in the squad for the 1986 World Cup. He also played at Euro 88 (scoring the winner in Italy's 1-0 win over Spain) and was part of the squad which finished 3rd at Italia '90. Vialli was largely expected to have a huge impact on the tournament and started Italy's first two games. He set up a goal in Italy's opening game with Austria and in the following game he hit the post from a penalty against the USA. His poor form and injury saw him dropped in favour of Roberto Baggio and Toto Schillaci, but he did make a surprise return in the semi-final in place of Baggio. He was substituted in favour of Baggio during the match. In a recent interview with Irish radio station Newstalk Vialli claimed he had also been suffering with a chest infection in the early part of the tournament. 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. Ironically, he had his last international cap in 1994 also against Malta in a 1994 World Cup qualification match where he also scored, but was left out of the squad for the World Cup finals following a dispute with coach Arrigo Sacchi, after which Vialli declared he would be supporting Brazil. 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 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.
Vialli joined Chelsea in the summer of 1996 for $1million 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, but 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, he scored four goals in a 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.
Gullit was sacked in February 1998 and Vialli was appointed player-manager. Chelsea were already in the quarter-finals of the Coca Cola Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup, and went on to win both competitions under Vialli, as well as finishing 4th in the Premier League. The following season Chelsea won the European Super Cup by beating Real Madrid 1-0, and finished 3rd in the Premiership, 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, finishing his Chelsea career with 83 appearances and 40 goals.
The following season saw Chelsea reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League in their debut appearance, the highlight of which was a 3-1 victory over FC Barcelona, although they were eventually knocked out on aggregate by the same side. 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.
He 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.
In 2006, he published a book called The Italian Job with friend and football journalist Gabriele Marcotti. The book discusses the differences between English and Italian football. Vialli is donating the proceeds of the book to the "Fondiazione Vialli et Mauro per la Ricerca e lo sport", which is a charitable foundation he himself founded that raises funds for research into cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Today he works as a TV football commentator for Sky Italia. On 2007-08, he was linked with a move to the Managers position at Queens Park Rangers F.C., 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 position.
Serie A: 1990-91
Coppa Italia: 1984-85, 1987-88, 1988-89
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 89-90
Serie A: 94-95
Italian Cup: 94-95
UEFA Cup: 92-93
UEFA Champions League: 95-96
FA Cup: 96-97 (as a player), 99-00
League Cup: 97-98
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 97-98
European Super Cup: 98
FA Charity Shield: 2000
Serie A Top Scorer: 1990-91 (19)