Gianluca Vialli: ‘Now I realise that whenever I want to cry, I cry’

The former Chelsea and Italy forward talks openly about cancer, overcoming adversity and the future

“You feel that you are letting someone down, like your parents,” Gianluca Vialli says as his memories of cancer return with renewed force. His voice is grainy with hurt and, even on Skype, his eyes glisten. “You don’t want your parents to see you in a lot of pain.”

The former Italy striker, who also managed Chelsea, pauses because the tears have choked him. Vialli is at his home in Chelsea, where he is in lockdown with his wife and two teenage daughters. His elderly parents live in Cremona, the town in northern Italy which has been hit so hard by the coronavirus. He cannot talk as he remembers why he did not tell them when he was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017.

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