Former Chelsea and Watford manager Gianluca Vialli has revealed he was treated for 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 that he hid the illness because of “a sense of shame”.
“It’s been a year and I’m back to having a beastly physique,” the former Juventus and Chelsea striker said.
“But I still have no certainty of how this match will end.”
Vialli, who won Serie A and the Champions League with Juventus and won the FA Cup as a player and manager with Chelsea, now works in Italy as a pundit.
He said he has undergone eight months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy.
“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.
“It 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.”
After joining Chelsea as a player in 1996, he was named player-manager following the sacking of Ruud Gullit in February 1998.
We love this guy. Best wishes from all of us at Chelsea to Gianluca Vialli. We're all thinking of you, Luca. pic.twitter.com/oBvgsH1uXp
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 26, 2018
The former Italian international, who also played for Cremonese and Sampdoria, then went on to lead 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 in the 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 finished 14th.