Once a Blue
Vialli’s preference to play in England and experience life in London naturally drew him to Chelsea, with the club gaining popularity throughout Europe in the mid-1990s due to the influx of European talent to SW6. Yet the striker’s history with the Blues went back further than his signing in 1996.
One of his childhood friends had gifted him a Chelsea scarf following a trip to England, introducing him to the club for the first time. A decade later and now a keen collector of football shirts, another friend returned from London with a Chelsea bomber jacket, which Vialli promptly began wearing to Sampdoria training.
Over 20 years after leaving the club, he remains close to the Chelsea community. He still lives in SW6 with his wife and two teenage daughters, spending lockdown in the capital last year.
During treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2017, he was admitted to the local Royal Marsden, which he has since described as a ‘fantastic hospital.’ Following two separate nine-month courses of chemotherapy, the former striker was declared cancer-free in December 2019.