Italian football great, Paolo Rossi is dead at 64.

todayDecember 10, 2020

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Italian football legend, Paolo Rossi is dead. His death was announced on Thursday, following what Italian media reported had been a long illness.

Rossi’s wife Federica Cappelletti posted a picture of them together on social media with the words “Per sempre” (“forever”).

She did not disclose the cause of his death.

Rossi was the leading light of the Italian national team when they won the 1986 world cup. Rossi became a household name, leading the Azzurri to victory at the tournament in Spain and finishing as top scorer and being named best player.

Before the world cup, he survived a narrow miss from the squad when he was found guilty in an investigation into a football bribery scandal in the Italian league which was known as “Totonero affair” by the media.

The so-called Totonero affair, named after the term for illegal betting schemes in Italy, involved a syndicate attempting to tamper with Serie A and B matches.

It culminated in mass arrests and in the aftermath AC Milan and Lazio were relegated to Serie B.

A total of 50 years of bans from football was handed out to the culprits, while various teams incurred a total of 25 deducted points.

The most notable protagonist was Italy striker Paolo Rossi, who was handed a three-year ban for his role.

That was cut by 12 months to allow him to play in the 1982 World Cup.

Rossi went on to score six goals, including a memorable hat-trick in Italy’s 3-2 win over Brazil in the second group stage, and finished as the tournament’s leading scorer.

Following this year’s triumph in Berlin, you might be forgiven for thinking that, in modern times, World Cup success for Italy only comes against the backdrop of domestic football scandal.

Rossi scored 20 goals in 48 appearances for the Italian national side, and more than 100 Serie A goals during spells with Vicenza, Perugia, Juventus, Milan and Verona.

Following his performances at the 1982 World Cup, he was awarded the Ballon d’Or which at the time was given to the European footballer of the year.

After retiring from football in the late 1980s, Rossi worked as a pundit for Sky, Mediaset and Rai.

The Italian football federation (FIGC) said flags would fly at half-mast at its headquarters in Rome and its technical centre in Florence.

“Pablito’s passing away is another moment of deep pain, a wound to the heart of all fans that is difficult to heal,” said FIGC president Gabriele Gravina.

“We’ve lost a friend and an icon of Italian football.

“In spurring the national team on to success in 1982, he had Italians celebrating in squares across the country, both for him and with him.

“He indelibly tied his name to the Azzurri and, through his style of play, inspired numerous strikers of future generations.”

A statement from Vicenza, who Rossi helped win promotion to Serie A in 1977, said: “Sometimes there are simply no words to express the pain we are all experiencing.”

Milan, where he played in the 1985-86 season, said Rossi would “forever be in our memory”.


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todayDecember 10, 2020

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