Chiesa dedicates Juve´s latest win to ´real champion´ Vialli

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Federico Chiesa dedicated Juventus’ late victory over Udinese to Gianluca Vialli following the legendary former Bianconeri striker’s death at the age of 58.

Vialli, who also played for Cremonese, Sampdoria and Chelsea, passed away in London on Friday.

He was originally diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 and, after announcing he had been given the all-clear in April 2020, he was re-diagnosed the following year.

Vialli played over 100 times for Juventus, with whom he won the Champions League, Serie A, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup across a four-season spell.

Juve paid tribute to Vialli with a minute’s applause ahead of Saturday’s 1-0 league win over Udinese and played footage of his greatest moments on the big screen at full-time.

Chiesa worked closely with Vialli during the latter’s time working as Italy’s assistant manager alongside Roberto Mancini, with the Azzurri’s Euro 2020 triumph being the highlight.

After setting up Danilo’s late winner against Udinese, second-half substitute Chiesa told DAZN: “Our first thoughts go to Gianluca Vialli.

“He was a wonderful person and I was so lucky to cross paths with him in my life, as he was a real champion, but above all a marvellous human being.

“At the Euros he really was like an extra player, he was on the pitch with us. We could talk for hours about what a great man he was. The victory is for him.”

Thanks to their second late victory in a row to kick off 2023, Juventus have now won eight on the spin without conceding in Serie A for the first time since March 2018.

The Bianconeri have recovered from a slow start to the season to climb up to second and within four points of next opponents Napoli, who face Sampdoria on Sunday.

Despite closing the gap on the leaders, Allegri insists finishing in the top four remains the immediate target for his side.

“Napoli are still clearly the favourites to win the Scudetto,” he said. “They have a big advantage, whereas we want to consolidate the top four.

“We’re almost halfway through the season and are doing well. As I said, raising the bar means the performances rather than the results or targets.

“We have to take it one step at a time, focus on working and achieving the minimum objective, which is a top-four finish.”

Juventus have now scored six goals after the 85th minute in Serie A this season, which is the most of any team.

Danilo’s tap-in against Udinese came after Leandro Paredes played in fellow substitute Chiesa, who in turn laid the ball on a plate for his stand-in skipper.

“We were a bit too hasty at times with our crosses and passes,” Allegri said. “We knew there could be difficulties, but that the game would improve as time wore on.

“We brought home the win late on because of good fitness levels and also mental strength.

“Technical skill is crucial, but if you don’t have that desire to give that little bit extra and get there a few centimetres before your opponent, you don’t win these games.”

Juve now have 12 clean sheets after their opening 17 Serie A games, a tally only Cagliari in the 1966-67 season (13) can better at this stage of a campaign.

“As the coach says, we have to keep raising the bar,” Chiesa added. “Eight wins in a row isn’t enough; we have to keep doing better.”

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