Gianluca Vialli leaves role with Italy to focus on further treatment for cancer

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The former Italy striker Gianluca Vialli, who has pancreatic cancer, is stepping away from his role with the national federation, the 58-year-oldsaid on Wednesday.

“At the end of a long and difficult negotiation with my wonderful team of oncologists, I have decided to suspend, hopefully temporarily, my present and future professional commitments,” said Vialli, head of delegation of the Azzurri.

“The goal is to use all my energies to help my body overcome this phase of the disease, so as to be able to face new adventures as soon as possible and share them with all of you.”

Vialli, who enjoyed a stellar career with Sampdoria, Juventus and Chelsea, and won 59 caps for Italy, was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 but was given the all-clear a year later. A year ago, he announced it had returned.

The Italian Football Federation president, Gabriele Gravina, said: “Gianluca is an absolute protagonist of the Italian national team and will be in the future. Thanks to his extraordinary fortitude, the Azzurri and the affection of the entire federal family, I am convinced he will return soon. He can count on each of us, because we are a team, on and off the pitch.”

The European champions, who failed to qualify for the World Cup, begin their Euro 2024 qualification campaign in March against England.

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