Former Chelsea and Juventus striker Gianluca Vialli has revealed he was treated for cancer for almost a year, but is on the path to recovery.
The 54-year old has written about the illness in a new book, but said he hid the news due to feelings of shame.
"It's been a year and I'm back to having a beastly physique, but I still have no certainty of how this match will end," Vialli told Corriere della Sera.
"I would have gladly done without, but it was not possible. Then I considered it a phase of my life that had to be lived with courage and from which to learn something."
Currently working in Italy as a pundit, Vialli won Serie A and the Champions League with Juventus, and also earned medals in the FA Cup, EFL Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with Chelsea.
Having undergone eight months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy, Vialli exposed the lengths to which he initially attempted to conceal his illness to others.
"I knew it was hard to have to tell others, to tell my family. You would never want to hurt the people who love you – my parents, my brothers and my sister, my wife Cathryn, our little girls Olivia and Sofia," he added.
"It gives you a sense of shame, as if it is your fault. I would wear a sweater under my shirt so others did not notice anything, that I would still be the Vialli they knew.
"Then I decided to tell my story and put it in the book. I hope my story can inspire other people at difficult times in their life."