- BBC News World
Italian Gianluca Willi, one of the most iconic footballers of the 90s and a Champions League champion with Juventus in 1996, died this Friday at the age of 58.
The forward was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 and claimed to have beaten the disease three years later, but it returned in 2021.
In December, he announced that he was temporarily stepping down as coach of the Italian national team to focus on his health.
“Gianluca is a wonderful person and cannot fill a void,” said Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina.
Idle with target
Willy appeared for his hometown team Cremonese, helping them climb to the Serie B of Italian football.
A relentless striker, he was signed by Sampdoria and captained them alongside Roberto Mancini. Genoa’s most glorious eraWon the title in 1991, three Italian Cups and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1990.
They also reached the final of the European Cup in 1992, losing to Barcelona at Wembley.
Soon after, he signed for Juventus, which was a world record. Once there, he continued to rack up goals and titles for his record, such as the Champions League.
After that success, he moved to Chelsea in 1996 and two years later he became the coach of the London side, with whom he won the League Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Cup.
His showcase of titles also includes the English Association Cup, the 2000 FA Cup and most recently the European Championship he won with Italy as part of his friend Mancini’s coaching staff.
“You will be missed by many. A legend for us and all football“, Chelsea posted a farewell on social networks.
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