Chelsea pay emotional tribute to Gianluca Vialli: ‘Our hearts are broken. Luca, we love you and we miss you’

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Chelsea paid an emotional tribute to the late Gianluca Vialli before their Premier League game against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

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

Some of his former team-mates and players he managed, including John Terry, Mark Hughes and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, came out on the pitch before kick-off to join both teams for a minute’s applause to remember the Italian.

Huge banners were unfurled around Stamford Bridge, while supporters chanted his name.

A tribute to Vialli with shown inside Stamford Bridge, with his former team-mate Graeme Le Saux saying: “From the day you stepped through the door you set the standard at this club and captured our hearts.

“Dreams came true under your management and you achieved your dream of becoming a Chelsea legend.

“But above all Luca, you were a wonderful man. Charming, respectful, determined. You had a heart of gold that touched so many.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“Now our hearts are broken, but how lucky we were to have known you. Luca, we love you and we miss you.”

Having warmed up in special t-shirts with ‘Vialli 9’ on the back, Chelsea players wore black armbands during the game.

Supporters also laid flowers outside Stamford Bridge in tribute to Vialli, who spent three years at Chelsea 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.