Friday 24 May 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
New Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit made his first signing a significant one by securing the services of Juventus and Italy striker Gianluca Vialli, who had won the UEFA Champions League just two days earlier.
Vialli captained Juventus to a penalty shoot-out victory over Ajax in Europe's elite knockout competition on 22 May and Gullit, who was appointed Chelsea manager on 10 May 1996, wasted no time in bringing the striker from Turin to Stamford Bridge.
The 31-year-old striker also won the UEFA Europa League during his time with Juve, whom he joined after helping Sampdoria lift their first Serie A title in the early 1990s.
Vialli made an instant impact for the Londoners, scoring nine goals in his debut Barclays Premier League season as the Blues finished sixth and won the FA Cup with a victory over Middlesbrough at Wembley.
The Italian was appointed player-manager, after the departure of Gullit in February 1998. The change and added responsibility did not affect Chelsea's form on the pitch as they went on to secure fourth in the Barclays Premier League, win the League Cup and win the European Cup-Winners' Cup final against Stuttgart.
Vialli was reduced to nine league appearances the next season, and hung up his boots at the end of the 1998/99 campaign, but he guided his Chelsea side to third in the Barclays Premier League, just four points behind title winners Manchester United.
The Blues' first Champions League campaign followed and they won the FA Cup in the 1999/00 season, as they beat Aston Villa 1-0 in the final.
Vialli was relieved of his duties as manager in September 2000. He finished with a 48% win percentage in 94 matches as Chelsea boss, while he netted 21 times in 58 Barclays Premier League appearances as a player.