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Concerns are growing for the health of Gianluca Vialli after his mother and brother travelled to London to visit him in hospital where he is being treated for pancreatic cancer, according to Italian media reports. 

The former Chelsea player and manager, 58, stepped down from coaching the Italy squad last week to focus on fighting the disease, which he was re-diagnosed with last year. 

His 87-year-old mother Maria Teresa and brother Nino travelled to the UK to be with him over the weekend before returning to Italy yesterday, Corriere della Sera reported. 

Vialli is married to Cathryn White-Cooper, a British former model, and they have two young daughters. The Italian has been living in south-west London since leaving Chelsea 20 years ago. 

Gianluca Vialli’s mother has rushed over to London to visit him in hospital amid his cancer fight. He is pictured in September watching Italy in Nations League match against Hungary

Gianlucca Vialli with his wife Cathryn White-Cooper, who he married back in August 2003

John Terry sent a message of support to his old Chelsea boss after he left Italy’s coaching team

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Vialli was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 but after being treated at the Royal Marsden Hospital he announced in April 2020 that he had been given the all-clear.

He went on to play a key role in Italy’s Euro 2020 success in England under head coach Roberto Mancini, a close friend and former teammate. 

But shortly after the triumph, Vialli was told the cancer had returned.

The ex-Italy international therefore decided to step down as a coach for his country and instead focus his entire efforts on beating it again, and he has returned to the same London hospital where he previously underwent chemotherapy to do so.

Tributes flooded in for Vialli when his decision to leave the Azzurri coaching setup was confirmed last week, including from ex-Chelsea captain John Terry.

Terry, who was given his debut for the Blues by former player-manager Vialli, posted a photo of his old gaffer on Twitter and wrote: ‘Sending my Love and Best Wishes to Gianluca Vialli.

‘The man that gave me my debut and believed in me.’ 

Gianluca Vialli and wife Cathryn White Cooper party at the Billionaire Club, Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy in  2010

 Vialli was a key figure in Italy’s run to winning Euro 2020, but now must focus on his health

Vialli is married to Cathryn White Cooper and have been together since 2003 when they tied the knot.

He also received a touching letter from his old Italy team-mate Antonio Cabrini, who urged him not to give up in his second fight against cancer.

‘Dear Gianluca,’ Cabrini’s letter said, ‘when I read in the newspaper that you gave up your role as head of delegation of the [national team] my heart sank. 

‘Knowing your extraordinary attachment to the Maglia Azzurra [blue jersey], I understood that such a step on your part can only have one meaning: the game you are playing is taking a lot of effort! The opponent, what you call “the unwanted travel companion”, is playing dirty, like a defender who sinks the tackle, not to win the ball, but to hurt the opponent. 

‘And so I, as your companion-friend, am writing to give you courage’. 

Gabriele Gravina, president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said of Vialli: ‘Gianluca is an absolute protagonist of the Italian national team and will be in the future.    

Gianluca Vialli and wife Cathryn White Cooper at the wedding of Tamara Beckwith and Giorgio Veroni at the Redentore Church, Venice, Italy, on August 27, 2007

Appearing on the touchline as a coach during a Nations League game against England on September 23 at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in Milan 

Vialli’s nephew Maffo Giommi took to Instagram to urge him to never give up his battle

‘Thanks to his extraordinary strength of spirit, the Azzurri and 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.’

Speaking about the return of his cancer 2021, Vialli stressed that he was much improved and was determined to stay alongside Mancini for years to come.

‘I will keep fighting, because I want to be here for many more years. I want you to have to put up with me for a long time to come,’ he said. 

Vialli joined Chelsea from Juventus in 1996 on a free transfer and played his last game in the 1998-99 season by scoring a winning goal against Derby County. 

He went on to manage the club, before being sacked in September 2000 after falling out with key players including Gianfranco Zola and Didier Deschamps.

He began managing Watford in 2001 – during which time he briefly moved to Hampstead – but was sacked after a year.  

Vialli evades a tackle during the Coca Cola Cup Third Round match against Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge in 1997

Vialli is known for his strong personality and energetic presence on the touchline 

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John Terry pays tribute to Gianluca Vialli after his former… BREAKING NEWS: Ex-Chelsea star Gianluca Vialli leaves his… JEFF POWELL: Forget the emotional outpouring, Lionel Messi… Aurelien Tchouameni, Kingsley Coman and Randal Kolo Muani…

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