A tribute to Paolo Rossi

  • Paolo Rossi passed away on 9 December

  • Gianni Infantino, Marco Tardelli and Dino Zoff hail Pablito

  • FIFA pays tribute to Rossi with videos, quotes, trivia and stats

Gianni hails Pablito

“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."

Read FIFA President Gianni Infantino's full comments below....

Inzaghi, Tardelli, Vieri, Zambrotta and Zoff lead homages

“When I was a boy and I played football in the street, Paolo Rossi was to Italy what Pele and Maradona were to Brazil and Argentina.”

Read the full remark from Clarence Seedorf and tributes from other footballing icons in the link below...

After Rossi’s exploits in Barcelona, it took 30 years for another player to score a hat-trick against Brazil. Lionel Messi was next in a 2012 friendly.

The interview

"What really stays with me is seeing all the Italian flags in the stadium after the ref had blown the final whistle. Of course I remember the goals, all those great moments. But when I lifted my head and saw all those flags all over the stadium... I'm not a nationalist, but at moments like that you really feel like you belong to something. You belong to a group, to a nation. Seeing the stadium simply covered with Italian flags was an extraordinary moment, one I will remember forever."

Read Rossi's full interview with FIFA in the link below...

Enzo’s art lesson

Paolo Rossi hadn’t scored for Italy in three years and almost 15 hours of action. Enzo Bearzot was under deafening pressure to drop him going into the showdown with overwhelming favourites Brazil.

He refused. “He was the best striker in the world and I knew he was guy who could win us the World Cup,” said ‘The Old Man’.

So, Bearzot came up with an ingenious plan to relax Rossi. He spent the day before the game researching cubist and surrealist painters. That night, he walked to Rossi’s room, knocked on the door, and they spent 40 minutes discussing art.

The next day Rossi painted Barcelona blue against arguably the most artistic side in football history.

“It may sound silly, but I always think back to how important that chat was for everything that happened,” Rossi said years later. “I didn’t know at the time he was pretending [to be interested]. It relaxed me, I slept well, I woke up feeling up good.”

Did you know?

  • Rossi was the first player to top the scoring charts in Serie B and Serie A in back-to-back seasons. He did it thanks to 21 goals in 36 games for Vicenza in 1976/77, and 24 in 30 the following season.

  • Due to the first round, in which the Azzurri had scraped through despite not winning a game, and them being drawn in the same group as defending champions Argentina and overwhelming favourites Brazil in the second group stage, an English bookmaker listed Italy 12th favourites out of the 12 remaining teams to win Spain 1982.

  • Years after he ended the World Cup dream of Falcao, Socrates, Zico and Co, Pablito was on holiday in Brazil when a taxi driver recognised him in the rear-view mirror and angrily ordered him to get out. After a few minutes of the Italian apologising, the Brazilian finally relented and continued the journey.

  • Rossi’s autobiography is titled I Made Brazil Cry.

Italy's top World Cup scorers

Christian Vieri99
Paolo Rossi914
Roberto Baggio916
Toto Schillaci67
Silvio Piola54
Alessandro Altobelli57
Only three players have won the adidas Golden Ball, the adidas Golden Boot and a winner’s medal at a World Cup: Garrincha (Chile 1962), Mario Kempes (Argentina 1978) and Rossi (Spain 1982).

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