The Italian Football Federation has led the tributes to Italy’s former World Cup winner Paolo Rossi, who has died aged 64.
Former Juventus and AC Milan striker Rossi was instrumental in Italy’s World Cup triumph in 1982 as he finished the tournament as top goalscorer.
FIGC president Gabriele Gravina said in a statement on the governing body’s official website: “The disappearance of Pablito is another deep pain, a wound to the heart of all fans, difficult to heal.
“We lose a friend and an icon, who dragged the (1982 World Cup) national team to success with his goals, he took an entire country by the hand, which rejoiced in the streets, for him and with him.
“He has indissolubly linked his name to Azzurro and has inspired, with his style of play, many forwards of future generations.”
The FIGC confirmed flags were at half mast at its headquarters in Allegri and its technical centre in Coverciano.
His wife, Federica Cappelletti, shared a photo of the pair on Instagram with the caption “Per sempre” (“forever”).
Juventus said that Rossi would not only be remembered as a World Cup hero.
“He was the hero of an unforgettable World Cup for all of Italy, but for us he was much, much more,” the Serie A champions said on their official website.
“Paolo represents so much for an entire nation of Juventus fans who celebrated with him in front of their television sets, week after week after week.
“And though those television sets gradually began showing the action in colour, those special moments remained gloriously black and white for us.”
Former Germany and Bayern Munich manager Jurgen Klinsmann also paid his respects on Twitter, writing: “Dear Pablito, we always remember you!”
Former club Vicenza posted on Twitter: “Sometimes there are simply no words to express the pain we are all experiencing. Ciao Paolo.”
UEFA confirmed all of Thursday night’s Europa League matches would be preceded by “a moment of silence” in tribute to Rossi.
A moment of silence will be held at all UEFA matches today, following the death of Italy's World Cup hero, Paolo Rossi.— UEFA (@UEFA) December 10, 2020
Rossi scored a hat-trick against Brazil in the second group of the 1982 World Cup in Spain to help Italy reach the semi-finals.
He then scored both of Italy’s goals in their semi-final win against Poland and their opener in the final, which they won 3-1 against West Germany.
Rossi was banned for three years after being implicated in a match-fixing scandal in 1980, but always maintained his innocence and his exile was reduced to two years on appeal.
He spent his entire club career in Italy, starting out at Vicenza before moving on to Juventus, with whom he won two Serie A titles and the 1984 European Cup. He also played for AC Milan and Verona.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.