Paolo Rossi, the star of Italy’s 1982 World Cup-winning team, has died at the age of 64.
The news was announced in the early hours of Thursday morning by Italian TV channel RAI Sport, for whom Rossi had been working as a pundit.
“A very sad news: Paolo Rossi left us,” RAI Sport presenter Enrico Varriale tweeted. “Unforgettable Pablito, who made us all fall in love in that summer of ‘82 and who has been a precious and competent workmate at RAI in recent years. RIP dear Paolo.”
The former Juventus and AC Milan player is widely regarded as one of the best forwards of all time and is most famous for his heroics at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.
In the final he scored the opening goal as Italy defeated West Germany 3-1. Earlier in the tournament, he scored a hat-trick to beat Brazil 3-2 and send one of the favourites out early. It was considered one of the best performances at a World Cup and won the tournament’s golden boot and golden ball and, in the same year, the Ballon d’Or.
Rossi spent his entire club career in Italy, winning Serie A twice and helping Juve to the 1984 European Cup.
Tributes began to flow on social media, with Jürgen Klinsmann among world football figures to share his condolences. “Dear Pablito, we always remember you!” he tweeted.
Shortly after the news broke, Rossi’s wife, Cappelletti Federica, posted a photo of herself and her husband to her Instagram account along with the words “per sempre” – “forever”.
More to follow.