Thursday 10 December 2020, 15:45

The world of football mourns the passing of Paolo Rossi

  • Italian legend Paolo Rossi has passed away at the age of 64

  • Protagonist of Italy's 1982 FIFA World Cup triumph

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino paid tribute to Rossi today

FIFA and the world of the football has learned today with much sadness and emotion the terrible news of the passing of Paolo Rossi at the age of 64 years. Football loses another true legend, a symbol, and another great footballer, who made the generation dream and rejoice, especially in the 1980s.

Paolo Rossi was undoubtedly the hero and the protagonist of the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, the artifice of that unforgettable adventure that brought the Italian national team, led by Enzo Bearzot, to Italy’s third World Cup triumph. Pablito, as he was called after that World Cup, was the hero of the Italians and the Azzurri fans then and still is today.

Italy's Paolo Rossi lifts aloft the FIFA World Cup Trophy

Three goals against Brazil, in the unforgettable 3-2, then the double in the semi-final against Poland and finally the first goal against West Germany in the Final in Madrid on 11 July 1982.

At the time, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was 12 years old and, together with his family, he was supporting an Italian team that was winning the World Cup, and he was obviously supporting him, the great striker with the famous jersey No. 20, which had become and still is a symbol.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino personally paid tribute to Paolo Rossi, remembering him with deep emotion: “Ciao Pablito, symbol of joy, of revenge, of generosity, of sympathy, of success and, personally, symbol of pride for all Italians. A human hero and a world legend. Thank you Pablito, for the tears of joy that you gave us and that today turn into tears of immense sadness. A sincere hug to your family. Rest in peace.”

“Paolo Rossi was a pure-blooded forward, who knew how to excite us all with his play and, especially, with his goals,” the FIFA President continued. “His love for football was immense, and he transmitted it to all of us. When he talked about it, he always had that calm and that unmistakable smile printed on his lips. But Paolo Rossi was above all a great man, humble and kind, whom I esteemed so much and whom I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times personally. Those meetings will remain in my heart and I will carry a beautiful memory of Paolo with me forever. Ciao Pablito.”

The most heartfelt condolences go to his family and friends at this difficult time.