Paolo Rossi, hero of the 1982 World Cup, died in Rome on 9 December 2020 after a long battle with an undisclosed disease. He was 64.
Rossi was integral to Italy’s World Cup win in 1982, a journey that saw the Italian National team battle past Maradona’s Argentina, as well as Brazil, Poland, and West Germany.
He scored a hat-trick against Brazil in the second round; kicked in two goals against Poland in the semi-final; and scored the first goal against West Germany, establishing Italy’s momentum in their win against West Germany in the final match. Rossi’s six total goals in the 1982 World Cup earned him the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards and led to his winning the Ballon d’Or in 1982.
In addition to his World Cup success, Rossi was a prolific scorer during this club years. He is considered to be one of the best forwards of all time, having scored 134 goals in 338 games for six squads, including Juventus and Vicenza. He was the first player to be the capocannoniere (top goal scorer) for Serie B and Serie A in consecutive years. He played his entire career in Italy.
Because of Rossi’s dominance in 1982 and the long stretch of time until 2006 (Italy’s subsequent World Cup championship), Rossi came to be one of the most celebrated Italian soccer players of all time. His legend is explored in several documentaries, including Paolo Rossi: Heart of a Champion and FIFA’s One to Eleven.