Vialli sacked as Chelsea manager

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The Independent Football

Gianluca Vialli was fired today as Chelsea's manager with the club saying in a statement he had been "released from his duties" immediately.

Gianluca Vialli was fired today as Chelsea's manager with the club saying in a statement he had been "released from his duties" immediately.

Vialli, 36, who joined Chelsea in the summer of 1996 on a free transfer from Juventus, took over as player manager in 1998 after Ruud Gullit was fired. That season he guided Chelsea to the European Cup Winners Cup title and the domestic League Cup title.

The club has won only one of its first five matches this season in the English Premier League with doubts its cosmopolitan side can compete with powers like Manchester United and Arsenal.

In a statement, the west London club expressed admiration for Vialli's 2 1/2-year reign but said in a "wider context it is in our best interests to seek a change of direction."

No successor has yet been appointed and "for the immediate future" the current staff, led by coach Graham Rix, will take charge of the team.

GIANLUCA VIALLI FACTFILE

1964: Born Cremona, Italy, July 9. The son of a millionaire, he is brought up in a castle.

1980: Signs for local club Cremonese, but his first full season is unspectacular with just five goals in 31 appearances.

1984: After scoring 10 goals for Cremonese, is signed by Sampdoria. Makes it into double figures for six out of eight seasons at the Genoa-based side.

1985: Wins Italian Cup with Sampdoria. Repeats feat in 1988 and 1989. Makes debut for Italy, against Poland.

1986: Included in Italy squad for Mexico World Cup finals.

1990: Sampdoria win European Cup Winners' Cup with Vialli scoring twice. Plays in Italian team who finish third in World Cup.

1991: Sampdoria win Italian championship. Vialli is Serie A's top scorer with 16 goals.

1992: Plays in European Cup Final, but finishes on losing side against Barcelona at Wembley. Juventus pay a world record £12.5million to bring him to Turin.

1993: Wins UEFA Cup with Juventus, beating Borussia Dortmund in final.

1994: Left out of Italy's 1994 World Cup squad by Arrigo Sacchi.

1995: Juventus win League and Cup double with 16 goals from Vialli. Scores spectacular goal in second leg of UEFA Cup final against Parma, but Juventus lose. Voted World Player of the Year.

1996: Skippers Juventus to victory in the 1996 European Cup final in his last game for the club. Joins Chelsea on a free transfer in the summer for £1million a year after rejecting offer from Rangers. Makes Premiership debut in goalless draw with Southampton. Scores first goal for Chelsea against Coventry.

1997: Feud develops with Ruud Gullit as he is regularly left out of the starting line-up. Wins FA Cup winners' medal after coming on as 89th minute substitute in 2-0 final victory over Middlesbrough. Promises to give up smoking in a bid to win a regular place in the Chelsea line-up. Scores four goals in 6-0 drubbing of Barnsley, but starts only four of the first 10 games of the season. Sent off against Blackburn in Coca-Cola Cup after elbowing Stephane Henchoz. Scores hat-trick against Norwegian side Tromso in European Cup Winners' Cup, but does not play in next three games.

1998: Installed as Chelsea's new player-manager following Gullit's shock departure.

Takes Chelsea to victory in the Coca-Cup Final against Middlesbrough at Wembley and in the European Cup Winners' Cup against Stuttgart in Stockholm.

2000: Misses out on qualification for the Champions League but guides the Blues to an FA Cup Final victory over Aston Villa.

HONOURS:

Serie A championships: 1991 and 1995. Italian Cups: 1985, 1988 and 1989. European Cup: 1996. European Cup Winners' Cup: 1990, 1998. UEFA Cup: 1993. FA Cup: 1997. Coca-Cola Cup: 1998.

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