We here at The Pride Of London would like to wish Chelsea FC’s legendary player and manager Gianluca Vialli a very happy 50th birthday! Vialli joined the Blues in 1996 from Juventus as part of manager Ruud Gullit’s plan to turn Chelsea in to a team of European stars and quickly became a fan favorite. The Italian loved Chelsea and the fans loved him as he lifted the club to previously unattainable heights.
Gianluca Vialli on the fans at Chelsea FC:
“I’ve been quite lucky during my career because I’ve played for only four clubs and every time I’ve managed to fall in love. With Chelsea fans, I had a fantastic relationship. We fell in love with each other. They never stopped encouraging me and when I became the manager the love and the passion went on. I think Chelsea fans were amazing every time we were playing away from home. I remember once we went to Old Trafford and we beat them 2-1. I happened to score very close to where our fans were sitting so I ran towards them and they became even louder. It was a wonderful feeling. You are basically an extension of the fans on the pitch. You are one of them wearing the shirt of the team you are playing for.”
Source: The Evening Standard
— Mark Worrall (@gate17marco) July 9, 2014
In 1998 Gullit was sacked and Gianluca Vialli took over as player-manager. He lead the Blues to an FA Cup triumph, the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and to their highest ever finish in the Premier League. He would continue as Chelsea boss until falling out with several of Chelsea’s stars including Gianfranco Zola and Dan Petrescu in the early days of the 2000-01 season. Vialli then went on to manage Watford but for only a year until another fallout and poor league performance saw him get sacked again. Vialli was not the most dependable of managers but the things he achieved with Chelsea as both player and manager make him a club legend for life.
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