Chelsea and Italy icon Vialli sadly passed away in a London hospital on Friday aged just 58 after a second battle with pancreatic cancer.
His passing led to an outpouring of grief and glowing tributes from across the world of football and beyond, with players, managers, fans and pundits past and present all hailing both his supreme footballing abilities and warm character off the pitch.
Conte pulled out of his scheduled press conference ahead of Tottenham’s FA Cup meeting with Portsmouth on Friday and instead handed the reins to assistant Cristian Stellini after learning of Vialli’s death, though was in the dugout as normal as Harry Kane’s goal sealed a 1-0 third-round win on Saturday.
The Italian has since paid heartfelt tribute to Vialli on social media, posting a lovely picture of the duo catching up at a London restauraunt in 2022.
“Having dinner together in London a few months ago as we had fun remembering all our adventures and battles on the field,” Conte wrote. “Unfortunately in these last few years you had to fight a great and terrible battle in life.
“I told you and wrote that you have always been an inspiration to me as my captain and for how you were proving to be strong, proud and brave, fighting like a lion against this disease. Always in my heart my friend. Ciao Gianluca.”
Conte and Vialli were team-mates at Juventus between 1992-96, winning a host of major silverware together including the Serie A title and Champions League, plus the Uefa Cup, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana.
In Pictures | Gianluca Vialli
Conte was also friends with Serie A legend Sinisa Mihajlovic, who died last month aged 53 after a long fight with leukaemia. Tottenham mourned the passing of fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone in October at 61 shortly after he was also diagnosed with leukaemia.