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06th Jan 2023

Graeme Souness pays touching tribute to Gianluca Vialli minutes after learning of his passing

Robert Redmond

“Forget football for a minute, he was just a gorgeous soul, he was just a truly nice human being.”

Graeme Souness has paid a touching tribute to Gianluca Vialli, who passed away at the age of 58 on Friday after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Vialli played for Sampdoria, Juventus and Chelsea in an illustrious career that also saw him represent Italy at two World Cups.

He also managed Chelsea and Watford and was part of the coaching team as Italy won Euro 2020.

Gianluca Vialli tribute

Vialli was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer for the second time in 2021, after being given the all-clear in April 2020. His condition worsened in the final months of 2022 and he passed away on Friday morning in London.

The former Italy striker is survived by his wife Cathryn White-Cooper and his two daughters, Olivia and Sofia.

On Sky Sports News on Friday morning, Souness paid tribute to Vialli. The pair played together for Sampdoria between 1984 and 1986.

Souness, who had only learned of Vialli’s passing a few minutes beforehand, said that the former Juventus captain was a ‘warm individual’ and a ‘truly nice human being.’

“I’ve only heard the news… sorry,” Souness said before taking a second to compose himself.

“I only heard the news 10 minutes ago and I can’t tell you how good of a guy he was. Forget football for a minute, he was just a gorgeous soul, he was just a truly nice human being.

“I went to Italy when I was 31 years old and he was 20 and he… he was just fabulous to be around, such a fun-loving guy, he was full of mischief, he was such a warm individual and a fabulous player.

“But I don’t want to talk about his footballing, I want to talk about him as a human being because I don’t remember when I hear his name, and I’m going to hear a lot of his name, correctly so, people paying plaudits to him and saying magnificent things about his playing ability. Yeah, but above all that, what a human being.

“My condolences go to his family and his wife. They’ve been blessed that their paths crossed, his kids were blessed that they had a dad like that, his wife was blessed that she was married to a man like that.”

You can watch Souness pay tribute to his friend below.

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