Paolo Rossi, Italy’s 1982 World Cup hero, dies aged 64

Paolo Rossi. Photo: November 2016

Former Italian footballer Paolo Rossi, who led the national team to victory in the 1982 World Cup, has died aged 64, his family says, his wife Federica Cappelletti posted on Instagram a picture of them together with the words “Per sempre” (“forever” in Italian).

She did not disclose the cause of his death. Italian media are reporting that he had a long illness. Rossi was the top scorer and the best player of the 1982 tournament in Spain, his memorable hat-trick eliminated favourites Brazil in a match many fans see as one of the greatest in World Cup history. Rossi nearly missed the competition after being banned from football for two years for his involvement in a match-fixing scandal.

At club level, the striker was also a prolific goalscorer for Vicenza. He also played for a number of other Serie A outfits, including Juventus and Milan. In 2004, he was named by Brazilian legend Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers, after retiring from football in the late 1980s, Rossi worked as a pundit for Sky, Mediaset and Rai.

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