The past year has marked a period of renewed sorrow for the family of late footballer Gianluca Vialli who passed away on the 5th of January, 2023. His brother, Nino, one of Gianluca’s four siblings, shares his thoughts in the Corriere della Sera.
Reflecting on the year since Gianluca’s passing, Nino says, “It’s a constant memory.” He further elaborates on their relationship in Gianluca’s later years. He says, “Because I moved to Thailand in recent years, I barely saw Luca. We primarily communicated over the phone. Often, after he had discovered his illness, he would not reply to me, even to messages, which I believe was due to the awkwardness of being asked ‘how are you?’ He would reach out when he was feeling well, otherwise he would keep a low profile.”
He also remembers Gianluca’s driven ambitious nature in his boyhood. Recollecting this Nino said, “Even as a child, Gianluca was above average. He always aimed at being the best whether it was his academic performance or sportsmanship. He was charming, witty, and extroverted, with a knack for humour.”
Talking about Gianluca’s role in the Mancini national team, Nino shared that Gianluca had consulted him about continuing as a coach. “He told me about it while the negotiations were ongoing. He was seeking my opinion, waiting for me to say something,” says Nino, “I told him it was good for him to be in the circuit. He did not want to be a coach to avoid taking time away from his family. The role suited him, the commitments of the National team spread over time and he was not in the frontline. He had concerns about overshadowing Mancini, but Mancini was not reluctant to ask for his advice.”
Gianluca equally left a profound impact off the field, evident in the foundations he established. “He was deeply moved by the plight of footballers suffering from ALS. He didn’t tell us until everything was set. Then he began involving Cremona with golf matches,” Nino reflects.
Even though Gianluca was not professionally trained in tennis, according to Nino, he played rather well. “He would mimic the style of Rafael Nadal. You could almost think you were watching Nadal play,” Nino fondly recalls.
Nino’s testimonies, revisiting his brother’s legacy in football and beyond, gives an insightful perspective on the life and character of the late Gianluca Vialli.
The source of the direct speeches used in this story is the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.