RIP Paolo Rossi: Relive his extraordinary soccer career
The Italian soccer player Paolo Rossi died earlier this week at the age of sixty-four from complications with lung cancer. Rossi’s wife, Federica Cappelletti, said he died in her arms. Cappelletti also said he died in his sleep while at the hospital. Before he passed, she said she promised him she would take care of their children.
She announced the death on Instagram, where she posted a picture of her & Rossi smiling together. She captioned it “Per sempre,” which means “forever” in Italian.
“There will never be another one like you, unique, special, after you there is absolute nothingness,” she said in a Facebook post. The Italian soccer federation said it would fly flags half-staff as a way to commemorate Rossi.
Paolo Rossi’s early career
Rossi was born in Prato, Tuscany. He began a professional soccer career in 1973 with the soccer club Juventus. One of his first accomplishments with the club was a runner-up medal in the 1973 Intercontinental Cup.
Rossi was with Juventus for four years. Over the span of that time, he won two Serie A titles, the European Cup, and Coppa Italia.
Juventus wrote about Rossi’s passing on its website, saying he was “the hero of an unforgettable World Cup for all of Italy, but for us he was much, much more.”
Paolo Rossi’s rise to fame
One of Rossi’s main achievements that brought him to glory and fame during his soccer career was leading Italy to the World Cup title in 1982. He had just returned from a suspension after a 1980 betting scandal. He was twenty-five years old, so he was still in good shape to play. Even though he hadn’t played for two years, he was still selected to join the team.
On his way to World Cup victory, he scored six goals at the tournament in Spain. He scored six goals in three games against Brazil, Poland, and West Germany. Rossi’s final score gave Italy their third world cup title and first since 1938.
His performance during the 1982 World Cup won him the Golden Boot as top scorer and the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. He also won the title of the best player in Europe after winning the Ballon d’Or award that year.
After leaving soccer
Throughout his career, Rossi scored a total of nine goals: three during the World Cup in Argentina and the remaining six from the 1982 World Cup in Spain. He remains one of Italy’s highest scorers at the World Cup.
Even after he no longer played the game, Rossi was still passionate about soccer and continued his career as a soccer commentator. He worked as a pundit for RAI Sport. Enrico Varriale, a sports presenter for RAI, worked with Rossi and expressed his condolences on social media.
“Very sad news: Paolo Rossi left us,” said Varriale on Twitter. “Unforgettable Pablito, who made us all fall in love in that summer of ’82 and who has been a precious and competent workmate at RAI in recent years. RIP dear Paolo.”
Mourning Paolo Rossi
Gabriele Gravina, president of the Italian Football Federation, wrote a statement which can be found on the federation’s official website.
“The disappearance of Pablito is another deep pain, a wound to the heart of all fans, difficult to heal,” he said.
Other soccer players joined in the online remembrance of Rossi. Even Germany’s former World Cup winner Jurgen Klinsmann wrote a tweet saying “Dear Pablito, we will always remember you!”
Very sad news about Paolo Rossi. He was a great teacher, friend and big influence on my career. I am very lucky to have played with him in my first year at Milan. I learnt so much from the wise goal scorer. My thoughts go out to his family ❤️🖤 pic.twitter.com/ycphTZKgWa
— Mark Hateley (@MarkHateley10) December 10, 2020
“A great teacher”
Former English soccer player Mark Hateley tweeted about his friendship with Rossi.
“Very sad news about Paolo Rossi. He was a great teacher, friend and big influence on my career. I am very lucky to have played with him in my first year at Milan. I learnt so much from the wise goalscorer. My thoughts go out to his family,” he said.