Breaking News

Paolo Rossi, Italian Football Great and World Cup Winner, Dies Aged 64


Former Juventus and Milan player is widely regarded as one of the best forwards of all time and is most famous for his heroics at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

In the final he scored the opening goal as Italy defeated West Germany 3-1. Earlier in the tournament, in what is still considered one of the best World Cup performances, he scored a hat-trick to beat Brazil 3-2 and send one of the favourites out early. Rossi won the tournament’s Golden Boot and Golden Ball and, in the same year, the Ballon d’Or.

“On one hand I felt fulfilled. I said to myself, ‘you’ve made it’,” he said in a 2018 Fifa documentary. “On the other hand, I was disappointed that all of this just ended. The World Cup was over.”

He also scored three goals at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. With a total of nine goals, he remains Italy’s joint highest scorer at the World Cup with Roberto Baggio and Christian Vieri.

That he was involved in the 1982 finals at all was only down to a reduction of a match-fixing ban. Rossi was the world’s highest-paid player when, in 1980, he was banned for three years after it emerged that a 2-2 draw between Perugia – where he was on loan from Vicenza – and Avellino was fixed by a betting syndicate.

My favourite game: Italy v Brazil, 1982 World Cup second group stage
Read more
Rossi denied involvement and his ban was commuted to two years. The then 25-year-old, who had in the interim been purchased by Juventus, returned to the game two months before the tournament.

Rossi spent his entire club career in Italy, winning two Serie A titles and helping Juve to the 1984 European Cup.

Italians woke on Thursday to eulogies for one of the country’s favourite footballing sons. Rossi was “the one who beat Zico’s Brazil, Maradona’s Argentina, Boniek’s Poland and in the final, the Germany of Rummenigge,” La Gazzetta dello Sport said on its website.

Tributes continued to flow on social media, with the former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi tweeted: “In our hearts, forever. Farewell Pablito.” Jürgen Klinsmann was among world football figures to share his condolences. “Dear Pablito, we always remember you!” he tweeted.

Rossi is the second World Cup winner to die in the space of two weeks following last month’s death of Argentinin great Diego Maradona from a heart attack.

No comments