Former Watford manager Gianluca Vialli has died at the age of 58.

The legendary Italian striker, who was in charge at Vicarage Road from 2001 to 2002, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer five years ago.

Vialli had been part of Robert Mancini’s staff with the Italian national team, but stepped down from the role earlier this month to undergo further treatment at the Royal Marsden hospital.

His death was announced on the Italian Football Federation’s website, whose president Gabriele Gravina said: "I am deeply saddened. I hoped until the end that he would be able to perform another miracle, yet I am comforted by the certainty that what he did for Italian football and the blue shirt will never be forgotten.

“Gianluca was a splendid person and he leaves a void that cannot be filled, in the national team and in all those who have appreciated his extraordinary human qualities.”

During a 16-year playing career in Italy, Vialli won every major trophy on offer, including Serie A titles with Sampdoria (1991) and Juventus (1995), the Champions League with the latter in 1996, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. He was also a four-time Coppa Italia winner.

He scored 16 goals in 59 appearances for Italy and featured in the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals, while his £12.5million transfer from Sampdoria to Juventus in 1992 was a world record fee at the time.

In 1996, Dutch great Ruud Gullit, then the Chelsea manager, lured Vialli to Stamford Bridge and the trophies continued to mount up.

At the end of the Italian’s first season in England he lifted the FA Cup and, although limited to a bit-part role under Gullit, he flourished at the London club after the Dutchman’s exit.

The following season, now as player-manager, Vialli led Chelsea to glory in both the League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.

Aged just 33 years and 308 days, Vialli was then the youngest manager to win a major European title.

He guided Chelsea to a third-placed Premier League finish in 1998-99, his last campaign as a player, and bowed out with the winning goal in a 2-1 home win over Derby.

Vialli’s appeal extended beyond Stamford Bridge due to his grasp of colloquial English and the glint in his eye.

The Italian embodied the Premier League’s continental revolution that transformed English football in the 1990s.

He won his fifth major trophy in less than three years in charge of Chelsea when they won the FA Cup in 2000, becoming the club’s most successful manager at the time, before being sacked five games into the following season.

His next role as Watford boss, his last in football management, ended in dismissal after just one season in 2002 before Vialli worked extensively as a television pundit and as a presenter on Sky Italia.

He also co-founded sports investment platform Tifosy in 2014 and in 2019, despite his on-going fight against cancer, was appointed as Italy’s new delegation chief under close friend and head coach Roberto Mancini, a former Sampdoria and international team-mate, and played a key role in the country’s Euro 2020 triumph.