SCOTT MINTO was reduced to tears when speaking about Gianluca Vialli's death.
Minto was team-mates with the Italian during his playing days at Chelsea and could not hide his emotions when paying tribute to him during an interview.
Vialli, 58, died on Friday from pancreatic cancer which tragically returned in 2021 after he had been given the all-clear in 2020.
The Italian continued to work until he was forced to step away from his role with the Italian national team last month.
Minto played with Vialli between 1996 and 1997 and he wanted to honour the "incredible" man.
He told talkSPORT: "I’ve got tears.
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"It’s a very emotional time because it’s not just about him as a player, it’s about the person – and he was just an incredible person.
"He came to Chelsea as this superstar and yet he was just one of the lads. He didn’t really speak English, first of all.
"He’d have these English books for children, like ‘The Cat Jumped Over the Dog’. We would all look at each other, but within six months, he was fluent.
"His determination just showed in everything. And his class… he was such a classy guy."
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Vialli was a legendary figure at Chelsea and a much loved man around football.
He enjoyed a glittering career with Sampdoria, Juventus and Chelsea and earned 59 caps for Italy.
Minto praised Vialli for his hunger to succeed in football, despite having a rich background.
He added: "A lot of footballers are not necessarily brought up with lots of money. His family were very rich, so that hunger is different.
"To be at the top in football, when you don’t need that financially, just shows the pure love of football that he had.
"He came from the upper-classes and still became the world-class player he was. The charisma he had… he walked into a room and you just knew he was there.
"That smile he had was amazing. I was watching an Italy game at the Euros and it was him and Roberto Mancini. They looked a million dollars. How they dressed, how they looked, how they came across.
"I pressed pause on the TV and I looked down at my phone to see if I still had his number. I hadn’t been in contact with him for years. I texted him and within ten minutes, he got back to me.
"I said, ‘This is the best-looking management team I’ve ever seen’. We kept in contact during the Euros and spoke about how we wanted it to be an England vs Italy final.
“He didn’t have to do that, with all the pressures, considering I hadn’t seen him in years. He was just such a classy guy as well as an incredible footballer."
As the football world mourns, Chelsea FC described Vialli as a "legend" as they led the tributes tributes.
The Italian won five trophies at the club after replacing Ruud Gullit as manager in 1998.
Minto added: "Luca was just an incredible guy in the sense that he knew how good he was and who he was in the stature of world football, but he would talk to you like he was one of your mates and you’d only just met him.
"He had that humbleness as well as the charisma and not many people have that.
"For him to die at the age he has is just horrific.
"To have said that I was in the same team as Vialli brings me great pride.
"But for him to get back to me every time I got in touch shows the class of the guy.
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"A world-class player and an even better person."
Graeme Souness also broke down in tears during an interview about Vialli on Sky Sports.
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