Gianluca Vialli, the former Italian soccer striker who helped Sampdoria and Juventus win Serie A and European trophies before becoming Chelsea’s player-manager, has died. He was 58 years old.

The Italian soccer federation confirmed Vialli’s death on Friday.

Vialli announced in 2018 that he had overcome a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer, but later said in December 2021 that the disease had returned.

With his condition worsening, Vialli announced in mid-December that he would temporarily step down as head of delegation for the Italy national team.

Federation president Gabriele Gravina said he was «deeply saddened» and noted that Vialli’s sporting success was matched by his «extraordinary human qualities».

Vialli was appointed head of delegation under Azzurri head coach Roberto Mancini, his longtime friend and former teammate.

The pair were known as the «gemelli del gol» or «goal twins» when they played together for Sampdoria, leading the Genoa club to their only Serie A title in 1991 and their only European title in 1990 with the Cup of Europe. — plus four Italian Cup trophies.

Vialli and Mancini also helped Sampdoria reach the 1992 European Cup final, which they lost to Barcelona at Wembley Stadium.

As head of delegation, Vialli joined Mancini to help Italy win the European Championship by beating England in a penalty shootout at Wembley in 2021.

“We have a relationship that goes far beyond friendship,” Mancini said during the Euro Cup. «He is like a real brother to me.»

Vialli’s death comes three weeks after the untimely death of another Serie A great, Siniša Mihajlović, who passed away after a long battle with leukaemia. Mihajlović also played under Mancini at Sampdoria after Vialli left the club for Juventus.

Vialli won another Serie A title with Juventus and also lifted the Champions League and UEFA Cup trophies with the bianconeri.

«Such a sense of loss,» Juventus said in a statement. “We have always been with you, Gianluca. Since you arrived in 1992, when it was love at first sight… we loved everything about you, absolutely everything, your smile, your being a star and a leader at the same time, on the field and in the locker room, your adorable ways of cape and sword, your culture, your class, that you showed until the last day with the black and white stripes”.

Vialli played for Italy between 1985 and 1992, making 59 appearances and scoring 16 goals.

He ended his playing career while also managing Chelsea, leading the London club to FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup titles. He continued to live in London after moving from Chelsea to become a television commentator and other businesses.

«Our thoughts are with Luca’s wife Cathryn, daughters Sofia and Olivia, and the rest of their family and friends at this terribly sad time,» Chelsea said in a statement.

Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali added: «The legend of Gianluca will live on at Stamford Bridge.»

«His impact as a player, coach and most importantly as a person will forever be written in the history of our club.»