Former Chelsea and Watford manager Gianluca Vialli has revealed he battled cancer for almost a year but is now “very well”.
The 54-year-old has written about his illness in a new book, and told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera he hopes his experiences can be useful to others.
“I’m fine now, very well indeed,” said Vialli, who was a Serie A and Champions League winner with Juventus before signing for Chelsea in 1996.
“It’s been a year and I’m back to having a beastly physique! But I still have no certainty of how this match will end.”
Vialli, who works for Sky Italia as a pundit, said he had undergone eight months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy, and had done his best to hide his condition until now.
“I would have gladly done without, but it was not possible,” he said. “Then I considered it a phase of my life that had to be lived with courage and from which to learn something.
“I knew it was hard to have to tell others, to tell my family. You would never want to hurt the people who love you: my parents, my brothers and my sister, my wife Cathryn, our little girls Olivia and Sofia.
“If gives you a sense of shame, as if it is your fault. I would wear a sweater under my shirt so others did not notice anything, that I would still be the Vialli they knew.
“Then I decided to tell my story and put it in the book… I hope my story can inspire other people at difficult times in their life.”
Vialli won the FA Cup as a player with Chelsea and, after being named player-manager following the sacking of Ruud Gullit in February 1998, led the Blues to victory in the League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup the same year.
He also guided Chelsea to victory in the 2000 FA Cup final and Charity Shield but was sacked early the following season after a poor start.
Vialli, who made 59 appearances for Italy, was in charge of Watford, then in the First Division, for the 2001/02 season but was dismissed after the Hornets only managed 14th place.