How did Paolo Rossi die? Fans mourn Italian soccer legend, recall his 1982 World Cup hat-trick against Brazil

How did Paolo Rossi die? Fans mourn Italian soccer legend, recall his 1982 World Cup hat-trick against Brazil
Paolo Rossi and Gianluca Vialli (Getty Images)

Paolo Rossi's family declared that the former soccer legend died in the early hours of December 10 at the age of 64. The cause of his death wasn't disclosed by his wife Federica Cappelletti who posted a picture of them together on Instagram with the words Per Sempre, meaning 'forever' in Italian, reports BBC. Daily sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the 1982 Ballon d'Or winner died of an "incurable illness."

Italian TV channel RAI Sport, with which Rossi used to work as a pundit, also announced the former player's death. "Such terribly sad news: Paolo Rossi has left us. Unforgettable Pablito, who made all of us fall in love in that summer of 1982 and who was a precious and competent work colleague in RAI over recent years," said RAI Sport presenter Enrico Varriale. 

The former soccer player was responsible for leading his national team to victory in the 1982 World Cup. His memorable hat-trick eliminated tournament favorites Brazil in a match that's considered as one of the greatest in World Cup history by fans of the sport. He also scored two against Poland in the semifinal and one against Germany in the final that Italy won 3-1. Rossi had nearly missed the competition in the wake of a two-year ban after his involvement in a match-fixing scandal, just two months before the tournament. He had a very successful career and in 2004, he was named by Brazilian legend Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living soccer players. He retired from soccer in the late '80s and began working as a pundit for Sky, Mediaset, and RAI. Rossi also enjoyed success at club level with Juventus, where — over four years — he won two Italian Serie A titles, a European Cup and a domestic Coppa Italia, according to a report

Soccer fans around the world have been mourning his passing and Twitter was flooded with heartfelt messages for him and his family. "Paolo Rossi RIP.... never forget coming home from school in 1982 to watch one of the greatest World Cup games of all time Italy v Brazil with Rossi scoring a hat-trick," tweeted a fan. "Up to the sad news that Paolo Rossi has died. I was 9 years old when Rossi, Tardelli, Altobelli, Graziani and the rest of that 1982 squad made me want to be Italian. That was meant to be Brazil's World Cup. But nah... pumped aff a Rossi hat-trick," tweeted another. "So sad to hear this. I was a little kid too during Espana 82..that was when I fell in love with Italian football. RIP Paolo Rossi," wrote another fan. "Paolo Rossi’s death has reminded me of the despair I felt when his hat trick knocked out Brazil in the 82 World Cup. That Brazil side was just amazing. Gorgeous. But they lost," wrote another. "For me the 1982 World Cup Finals Competition was the best we’ve ever had to date during my lifetime. Paolo Rossi was one of many players that illuminated that competition but wow, that hatrick against that magnificent Brazil team was something. A legend of the game. RIP Paolo," tweeted another. 






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