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Paolo Rossi (born 23 September 1956 in Pratomarker) is an Italianmarker former football striker. In 1982, he led Italy to the 1982 FIFA World Cup title, scoring six goals to win the Golden Boot/top scorer honors, and the Golden Ball. Rossi is the only player to have won all three honours at a single tournament. Javier Saviola, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero accomplished this in junior teams, in the 2001, 2005 and 2007 U-20 FIFA World Cups respectively. He is listed among Pelé's 125 all-time greatest footballers.


Early years

Rossi was born at Santa Lucia, in the province of Prato (Tuscany).

He made his debut in professional Italian football with Como, to which Juventus had sent him to gain experience after three operations on his knees.

His career came to a turning point when Vicenza (then Lanerossi Vicenza) engaged him. In the 1976-'77 season, Rossi's qualities as an implacable striker led his team to promotion to Serie A. In the following season, Rossi scored 24 goals, to become the first player to top the scoring charts in Serie B and Serie A in consecutive seasons. He was selected by the Italian national football team's manager Enzo Bearzot for the 1978 FIFA World Cup. Rossi confirmed his growth in the tournament, gaining international fame as one of world's best strikers.

Rossi up to this point had been jointly owned by Vicenza and Juventus. When the two clubs were called to settle the property, Lanerossi offered the shocking sum of 2.612 million lire for Rossi, who became Italy's most costly sportsman ever to that date. In 1979 Vicenza was relegated to Serie B, and he was loaned to Perugia.


While at Perugia he was involved in a famous betting scandal (Totonero), and as a result of this Rossi was disqualified for three years though this was later reduced to a two year ban. However, Rossi always claimed to be innocent and be victim of an injustice. In his book (Ho fatto piangere il Brasile) one of the people that accused him in 1980 admitted that the accusations to him at that time were invented.

1982 World Cup

Rossi returned just in time for 1982 FIFA World Cup, but Italian journalists and tifosi lamented he was in very poor shape. This view seemed to be confirmed by Italy's first, appalling three matches, in which he was allegedly described as a ghost wandering over the field aimlessly. Rossi was willing to attack but lacked the fortitude to produce.

Bearzot, however, staunchly confirmed Rossi for the decisive round robin, in which his team was to face Argentina, the reigning World Champions, and Brazil, the biggest favourites to win the title with a team consisting of world-class players such as Sócrates, Zico, and Falcão. After Italy defeated Argentina 2-1 on the defensive work of Gentile and Scirea, who shut down Diego Maradona, Rossi scored three memorable goals to shock Brazil 3-2 to qualify for the semi finals against Poland, where his two goals again won the match for Italy. In the final against Germany, Rossi scored the first of Italy's three goals on a free-kick assist from Gentile to win the match 3-1, giving his team their third World Cup. With six goals total, he won the tournament's maximo goleador award--the Golden Boot--as well.

Italian fans hung banners proclaiming him "Man of the match". Rossi's accomplishments in Spainmarker gained him the title of European Footballer of the Year and World Player of the Year in 1982.

Later years

After 1982 Rossi played with Juventus, winning one Scudetto, the Italian Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1984), UEFA Super Cup (1984) and the European Cup (1985). After his stint with Juventus, he moved on to a then struggling AC Milan. In Milan he was remembered for his two-goal performance against Internazionale F.C. in a derby. Rossi was also selected to the 1986 World Cup roster for Italy but did not play. He ended his career at Hellas Verona in 1987. He is currently involved in real estate, together with his former teammate Giancarlo Salvi.

Rossi scored a total of 20 goals in 48 caps for Italy. Rossi further represented Italy in the 1991 edition of the World Cup of Masters, scoring in the third place play off against Uruguay.

Rossi was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.

In August 2009, he was named vice-president of Lega Pro Prima Divisione club A.S. Pescina Valle del Giovenco.

Career statistics


  1. FIFA 100
  3. Above.

External links

1975-76 Como Serie A 6 0
1976-77 Vicenza Serie B 36 21
1977-78 Serie A 30 24
1978-79 28 15
1979-80 Perugia Serie A 28 13
1980-81 0 0
1981-82 Juventus Serie A 3 1
1982-83 23 7 9 6
1983-84 30 13 9 2
1984-85 27 3 10 5
1985-86 Milan Serie A 20 2
1986-87 Hellas Verona Serie A 20 4

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