On December 9, the former Italian player, Paolo Rossi, passed away at the age of 64 and has been remembered as a hero in his country and it is not for less, considering what his career was and the greatest achievement of his entire professional career: his performance in the 1982 FIFA World Cup held in Spain.
Paolo Rossi was born in Prato, a small town of Tuscany on September 23, 1956 and he began his career as a professional football player with Vicenza. In this team, Paolo Rossi managed to win the Serie B, promoting Vicenza in serie A. Despite playing for a small team, Paolo Rossi managed to be the top-scorer in both Serie A and Serie B. Thanks to his ability of scoring a great number of goals, Paolo Rossi was called-up to the Italy national team for the 1978 FIFA World Cup.
In the wake of Totonero, a corruption case in the early 80s in Italy that led to relegations of big clubs and ended with the suspension of Paolo Rossi for two years, who always spoke of a conspiracy against him throughout the years. Rossi was able to return to football in 1982, just in time to play the FIFA World Cup with La Nazionale.
Paolo Rossi would have a dream tournament that would lead him to be the top scorer in the World Cup, the best player and, most importantly, World Champion with the Italian national team. The highlight of this was that he did not score any goals in the group stage or round of 16: he saved all his goals for the final stages of the FIFA World Cup where he scored 3 goals against Brazil in the quarter-finals, 2 goals against Poland in the semifinals and the first goal against Germany in the final. His career would continue with other clubs such as Juventus, AC Milan or Hellas Verona, although without reaching the heights he did in the early stages of his playing days. An injury kept him from playing the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
His lack of physique or height was not a limitation for him to be able to demonstrate his class and scoring ability at the highest level, nor did it prevent him from becoming his country’s hero during the man’s darkest hour, which changes to be his brightest. Ciao Paolo, rest in peace!