Vialli steps back from Italy duties amid battle with pancreatic cancer

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Gianluca Vialli will temporarily step away from his role as delegation chief for the Italian national team to focus on his battle with pancreatic cancer.

Vialli announced he had undergone radiotherapy and chemotherapy in November 2018, having been diagnosed with the disease one year earlier.

The former Chelsea and Juventus forward was initially given the all-clear in April 2020, but announced he was fighting the disease again in December 2021.

Vialli was a visible presence alongside Roberto Mancini in the dugout as Italy won Euro 2020 last year, but the 58-year-old is now putting a temporary halt to his duties with the Azzurri.

“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,” Vialli said in a statement released by the Italian football Federation (FIGC).

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

FIGC president Gabriele Gravina said: “Gianluca is an absolute protagonist of the Italian national team and will be in the future as well.

“Thanks to his extraordinary fortitude, to the Azzurro and to the affection of the whole federal family, I am convinced he will be back soon.

“He can count on each of us, because we are a team, on and off the pitch.”

Italy, who missed out on a place at Qatar 2022, return to action in March with their opening Euro 2024 qualifiers against England and Malta.



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