Updated date:

Gianluca Vialli: The New Breed of Striker

A Chelsea ambassador redisovering our past and exploring our evolving brand.

Chelsea legend Gianluca Vialli was seen as a new breed of striker in Italian football.

Chelsea legend Gianluca Vialli was seen as a new breed of striker in Italian football.

Chelsea legend Gianluca Vialli was seen as a new breed of striker in Italian football who combined technique and goal scoring ability with speed, athleticism and physical power. Due to his natural ability, he also excelled in the air and became a prolific scorer of acrobatic goals from volleys and bicycle kicks. However, he was also highly regarded for his dedication, leadership qualities, strong mentality and his charismatic influence on the pitch. These transcendental attributes are now perceived as the skills an old fashioned striker needs to galvanize any effective football system.


Vialli's Chelsea Career

Hailed as one of the best and most consistent Italian strikers of his generation, Vialli was the complete, dynamic, and versatile forward who was capable of playing anywhere along the attacking line. However, his preferred position was in the centre as a main striker, where he could take advantage of his offensive movement and opportunism inside the box.

He was also capable of playing off of and creating chances for his teammates, who were guided by his superb vision, tactical intelligence and distribution.

Vialli's move to Chelsea as a free transfer was certainly the greatest challenge of his career as most players in the Premier League were British at the time. However, he joined fellow Italy internationals Gianfranco Zola and Roberto Di Matteo, who were brought from Parma and Lazio to complete the "Italian Invasion". This is a particularly interesting chapter in the club's history during the definitive years of the Premier League.

Although initially happy with the move to London, the squad could not accommodate the three up front, leading to strained relations with the coach. Vialli even considered a possible move to Crystal Palace or Celtic.

Vialli Runs Into Problems With Gullit

Chelsea eventually won the FA Cup in Vialli's first season, though in a 4-2 comeback over Liverpool in the 4th round. However, due to apparent differences between him and Ruud Gullit, he was regularly left out of the starting line up and was limited to a five-minute appearance as a late substitute due to an imposed "jinxed" presence on the pitch. This did not improve in the 1997-1998 season even though he delivered exceptional performances in the League and the Cup Winners Cup.

However, following Gullit's dismissal in early 1998, Vialli was given the interesting opportunity to be a player-manager. He won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1998 and the League Cup. He then achieved a euphoric 1-0 victory over UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid in the 1998 UEFA Super Cup.

After Gullit was sacked in February 1998, Chelsea were already in the semi-finals of the League Cup and the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup. He then proceeded with winning both competitions as well as finishing fourth in the League. A victory over VfB Stuttgart in the Cup Winners' Cup meant that the 33 years and 308 days-old Vialli became the youngest manager to win the competition. However, in 18 May 2011, Andrea Villas-Boas won the Europa league at the age of 33 years and 213 days.

Vialli Cements His Legacy

The following season, Chelsea finished 3rd in the Premier League, just four points behind champions Manchester United, which was the highest league finish since 1970. Chelsea then subsequently became a regular contender for a top four position from this point on.

Vialli had contributed immensely to the current Chelsea brand that we have grown accustomed to. In fact, this era was critical in laying the foundation for Abramovich and Mourinho to forge the Chelsea brand as a major player in modern day football. Personally, the younger Chelsea fan has fully embraced the aggressive corporate approach and is totally disregarding the pioneering endeavours of these footballers.

© 2019 Chelsea Planet


bright on September 09, 2019:

i think that chelsea is best team in the world

Related Stories


The Best Players Chelsea Shouldn't Have Sold

Chelsea are a club that aren't especially known for their loyalty towards players and managers at Stamford Bridge. It's an approach that is as controversial as it is successful. However, how many more trophies might Chelsea have won if they had kept a hold of these gems?


The Most Competitive Football Leagues in Europe

Many of Europe's top football leagues, while oozing quality and talent, are often accused of stifling predictability. They often leave fans bemoaning the continuing dominance of certain clubs. This serves serves to offer alternatives and showcase the most competitive football leagues in Europe.


The 2005 Champions League Final: How the Drama Unfolded

Arguably the most infamous football match of the last twenty years, Liverpool stunned the entire world with a scarcely believable comeback against European giants A.C. Milan in 2005. We take a look back at that unforgettable night in Istanbul and relieve the drama unfolding...


The 2012 Champions League Final: How the Drama Unfolded

The 2012 Champions League Final was one of the most drama-filled and action-packed football matches of its generation, with most football fans still scratching their heads at how Chelsea were able to overcome Bayern Munich in their own ground. Read on to see how the drama unfolded.


The 10 Best Soccer Players of All Time

Looking for a list of the 10 best soccer or football players of all time? Are you wondering what countries and teams they played for? Look no further—here's a list of some of the most iconic players from around the world.


Five Most Expensive Signings by Chelsea FC

The Blues have signed at least one player for more than £20 million in every season since 2011. The Chelsea owner hasn't been afraid to break the bank with the recently inflated transfer market value. Let us look at the five most expensive signings by the Blues.