GRAEME SOUNESS broke down in tears while paying tribute to his friend Gianluca Vialli.

The popular Italian died of cancer this morning aged 58.

Graeme Souness appeared on Sky Sports to pay tribute to his friend

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Graeme Souness appeared on Sky Sports to pay tribute to his friendCredit: Getty
Gianluca Vialli died this morning aged 58

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Gianluca Vialli died this morning aged 58Credit: Reuters

Vialli was a legendary figure at Chelsea and a much loved man around football.

Souness, 69, was a team-mate of his at Sampdoria in the 1980s and was visibly devastated by the news.

Speaking to Sky Sports just moments after Vialli’s death was confirmed, the Scot said: “I’ve only had the news ten minutes ago… sorry, I’ve only had the news ten minutes ago and I can’t tell you how good a guy he was.

“Forget football for a minute, he was just a gorgeous soul. He was a truly nice human being.

“I went to Italy when I was 31-years-old. He was 20 and he was just fabulous to be around.

“Such a fun loving guy, he was full of mischief. He was such a warm individual and a fabulous player.

“But I don’t want to talk about his footballing, I want to talk about him as a human being.

“Because I don’t remember when I hear his name, and I’m going to hear a lot of his name, correctly so and people paying plaudits to him, magnificent things about his playing ability… yeah – but what a human being – above all that, what a human being.

“And my condolences go to his family and his wife and they’ve been blessed that their paths crossed. The kids were blessed they had a dad like that, his wife was blessed to have a man like that.”

Souness went on to add: “I’m no doctor really but when I looked at him I thought I saw a man who was still in the fight when he was here during the Euros and they managed to win it.

“I think it’s so typical of him that he kept it very private, very personal and he took it on as I’d expect him to take it on.

“It was his fight, wanted to deal with it himself, didn’t want to burden other people with it.”

In a heartbreaking scene, Souness then broke down in tears – with Sky Sports News presenter Hayley McQueen thanking him for bravely paying tribute to his friend.

Vialli and Souness played together at Sampdoria for two years between 1984 and 1986.

They remained friends long after their stint as team-mates, also going on to appear as pundits together on Sky Sports.

Vialli has already received plenty of tributes from around the game.

Former club Chelsea, who he played for and then managed between 1996 and 2000, wrote: “You’ll be missed by so many. A legend to us and to all of football.

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“Rest in peace, Gianluca Vialli.”

Alongside a picture of the pair following Vialli’s 1996 Stamford Bridge arrival, Ruud Gullit wrote on Instagram: “RIP, Gianluca Vialli. We will miss you.”

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