Italy World Cup winner Paolo Rossi has died at the age of 64, his family said.
Rossi made a name for himself after leading the Azzurri to victory in the tournament in Spain, finishing as the top scorer and being named the best player.
Cause Of Death
At club level he started to shine as a top scorer for Vicenza, found a move to Juventus and later played for AC Milan.
His death was announced on Thursday, following a long-running Italian media report.
Rossi’s wife Federica Cappelletti posted a photo of them together on social media with the words “Per semper” (“meaning forever”).
She did not disclose the cause of his death.
Rossi has scored 20 goals in 48 games for the Italian national team, and more than 100 Serie A goals during Vicenza, Perugia, Juventus, Milan and Verona.
After his stint at the 1982 World Cup, he was awarded the Ballon d’Or which at the time was awarded to the European Footballer of the Year.
After retiring from football in the late 1980s, Rossi worked as a champion of Sky, Mediaset and Rai.
The Italian Football Association (FIGC) has said that flags will be flown at the ship’s headquarters in Rome and at its technical center in Florence.
“Pablito’s passing is another moment of deep pain, a wound in the heart of all fans that is hard to heal,” said FIGC president Gabrielele Gravina.
“We have lost a friend and an Italian football icon.
“In furtherance of the national team’s success in 1982, he had Italians celebrating in stadiums across the country, for him and for him.
“He has tied his name to the Azzurri and, in his style of play, has inspired many strikers of future generations.”
A statement from Vicenza, Rossi who helped win the promotion to Serie A in 1977, stated: “Sometimes there are hurtful words that we all hear.”
Milan, where he played in the 1985-86 season, said Rossi “will always be in our memory”.
The success of the World Cup was Rossi’s ‘personal redemption’
Rossi made his name in the history of football through his performances at the 1982 World Cup – though he almost missed the tournament after suffering a humiliating fix.
Although Rossi maintained his chastity, he was banned from football for three years after being accused of being involved in the 1980 Totonero scandal.
The suspension was reduced to two years during the appeal, meaning he was available to play in the World Cup in Spain.
Rossi later described continuing to win the tournament as “human redemption”.
The tournament kicked off with the incitement of Italy and Rossi. The Juventus striker failed to score in the opening rounds as Italy played all three of these games with pride.
The Italian Icon
The Italians looked far from those vying for the World Cup – until Rossi, who had been criticized, found his sharpness in front of goal in an important meeting with Brazil in the second group stage.
Rossi scored a brace as Italy won 3-2 to reach the semi-finals, scoring both goals against Poland as Italy hosted a meeting with West Germany in the final.
A tense moment changed the Italian way when Rossi scored the opening goal in the second half, the Azzurri went on to win 3-1 and became world champions for the third time.
“On the other hand I felt fulfilled. I said to myself, ‘you did it’,” Rossi later said of the victory.
“On the other hand, I am disappointed that all of this has come to an end. The World Cup was over.
“[But] when you win something important it’s not just a trophy. It’s about the team you won with, it’s about all your work that took you there.”
‘Iconic Rossi part of Italian history’
Italy’s conquest sparked a wave of emotions at home, bringing national unity and happiness at a time when the country was in the throes of political and social turmoil.
Those images of Rossi and her world-class teammates will always be rooted in the country’s culture, says Italian journalist Daniel Verri.
“We are shocked here because Paulo Rossi is a famous Italian footballer,” Verri told the BBC World Service.
“He is part of Italian history beyond football.
“For those who were lucky enough to see him play in the 1982 World Cup we will never forget what he did.
“82 Spanish paintings are part of Italian culture.”