Italy’s top-scorer in the 1982 World Cup-winning campaign Paolo Rossi has died at the age of 64 on Thursday.
Football Italia announced the news quoting Italian TV channel RAI Sport, for whom Rossi had been working as a pundit. “Such terribly sad news: Paolo Rossi has left us,” said RAI Sport presenter Enrico Varriale, who did not disclose the cause of death.
“Unforgettable Pablito, who made all of us fall in love in that summer of 1982 and who was a precious and competent work colleague in RAI over recent years. RIP dear Paolo,” he added.
Rossi’s wife Federica Cappelletti confirmed the news on social media, followed by his RAI colleague Varriale.
During his playing career, the striker represented Juventus, Como, Vicenza, Perugia, Milan, and Hellas Verona until his retirement in 1987.
However, it was as Italy’s hero in the 1982 World Cup that Rossi wrote his name in the history books. He scored 20 goals in 48 caps for the Azzurri, including six on the way to the 1982 trophy in Spain.
His hat-trick to beat Brazil 3-2 is legendary, followed by both goals to defeat Poland 2-0 in the semi-final and finding the net in the 3-1 Final triumph against West Germany. These exploits allowed him to win the Golden Boot as top scorer at the 1982 World Cup and consequently the 1982 Ballon d’Or as European Player of the Year.
Rossi was Capocannoniere of Serie A in 1977-78 with 24 goals, won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1984, UEFA Supercup in 1984-85, the European Cup with Juventus in 1985 and two Serie A titles in 1982 and ’84.
Rossi is the second World Cup winner to die in two weeks following last month’s death of Argentine great Diego Maradona from a heart attack.