Chelsea fans pay touching tribute to Gianluca Vialli ahead of FA Cup tie at Man City

 (Manchester City FC via Getty Ima)
(Manchester City FC via Getty Ima)

Chelsea fans paid a touching tribute to the late Gianluca Vialli before their FA Cup tie against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Vialli passed away this week at the age of 58 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer and Chelsea paid their respects to the Blues legend in their first match since his death.

Chelsea supporters sung the name of the Italian during a minute’s applause before the game at the Etihad Stadium.

Players also wore black armbands and the Chelsea squad wore special t-shirts in the warm up with Vialli’s No9 on the back.

Vialli spent three years at Stamford Bridge as both a player and then manager.

The Italian won the FA Cup with Chelsea in 1997, was named player-manager in 1998 and went on to lead the Blues to victory in the League Cup, European Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup that year. He also guided Chelsea to FA Cup success in 2000.

Vialli was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017. He was given the all-clear a year later but in 2021 he announced it had returned.

Speaking ahead of the game, Chelsea Graham Potter said: “It has been an emotional few days. He is a Chelsea legend.

“What he has achieved in his football career is amazing but the most poignant thing is how everybody speaks about him as a human being and a person. We are all incredible proud of him and sad, and our thoughts go to his family.”