GIANLUCA VIALLI could have settled for a life of comfort.
Instead, he dived into the deep end, swimming with the sharks and fishes of football.
And while his flame has been doused prematurely, at the age of just 58, for those who watched him or got to know him in even the smallest of ways, the light will always burn.
With many of football’s greats, the back story is similar.
A way out of poverty, the street footballer from a humble background, who fought his way up from the ghetto.
But Vialli’s story, although completely different, was all about the same steadfast desire to prove himself.
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It was not poverty that drove Vialli to make it on the field. It was wealth. Or the desperation to show he was there despite his background, not because of it.
After all, when you grow up in a 60-room castle with a history going back over 600 years, you know that you have been handed a gilded life.
Vialli, always a slow, deliberate speaker, with a ready smile – and a fag in hand – was determined to live down the stereotype.
He did it the only way you can on the football pitch – through sheer hard work.
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