Paolo Rossi

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This article is about the 1956 born footballer and 1982 FIFA World Cup winner. For the footballer born in 1982, see Paolo Rossi (footballer born 1982). For other people so named, see Paolo Rossi (disambiguation).
Paolo Rossi
Paolo Rossi 1975.jpg
Rossi in 1975.
Personal information
Date of birth (1956-09-23) 23 September 1956 (age 58)
Place of birth Prato, Italy
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1975 Juventus 0 (0)
1975–1976 Como (loan) 6 (0)
1976–1980 Vicenza 94 (60)
1979–1980 Perugia (loan) 28 (13)
1981–1985 Juventus 83 (24)
1985–1986 Milan 20 (2)
1986–1987 Hellas Verona 20 (4)
Total 251 (103)
National team
1977–1986 Italy 48 (20)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Paolo Rossi (born 23 September 1956) is an Italian former footballer. In 1982, he led Italy to the 1982 FIFA World Cup title, scoring six goals to win the Golden Boot as top goalscorer, and the Golden Ball for the player of the tournament. Rossi is one of only three players to have won all three awards at a World Cup, along with Garrincha in 1962, and Mario Kempes in 1978.

At club level, Rossi was a prolific goalscorer at Vicenza. In 1976 he was signed to Juventus from Vicenza in a co-ownership deal for a world record transfer fee.[2] Vicenza retained his services, and he was top goalscorer in Serie B in 1977, leading his team to promotion to Serie A. 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. In 1981 Rossi made his debut for Juventus, and went on to win two Scudetto titles, the Italian Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the European Cup.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest Italian strikers of all time, Rossi won the European Footballer of the Year in 1982, and in 2004 he was named as one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA's 100th anniversary celebration.[3] In the same year, Rossi placed 12 in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll. Since retiring, Rossi has gone into sports journalism and punditry. He currently works as a pundit for Juventus Channel.


Early years[edit]

Rossi was born in Prato (Tuscany) in the area of Santa Lucia (as then Christian Vieri and Alessandro Diamanti).

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, as a right wing, where his small build would not be a hindrance.

His career came to a turning point when Vicenza (then Lanerossi Vicenza) engaged him. Coach Fabbri decided to place him in the center of the attack (because of injuries to the then center-forward) just before the season started. Rossi immediately showed a tremendous knack for getting open in the box and scoring, winning the Serie B Golden Boot in his first year at the position. 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. Playing for Italy, he would switch positions with the two other forwards a fraction of the time, going to his original right wing position. Right winger Franco Causio, a two-footed player, would go left, and tall left winger Roberto Bettega would go to the center. This simple stratagem, made possible by the technical quality of all three players, created havoc on opposing defenses, and 1978 Italy showed an entertaining offensive style of play. Rossi totaled three goals and four assists in that WC edition.

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 Rossi was loaned to Perugia.


While at Perugia he was involved in the infamous 1980 betting scandal known in Italy as 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.[4]

1982 World Cup[edit]

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 aimlessly wandering over the field.[citation needed]

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 Claudio Gentile and Gaetano 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 Spain gained him the title of European Footballer of the Year and World Player of the Year in 1982.

Later years[edit]

After 1982 Rossi played with Juventus, winning two Scudetto titles, the Italian Cup (1983), 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 due to an injury. 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. Undoubtedly, his most important goal was the winner against Brazil in the 1982 World Cup which completed a famous hat trick and enabled the Azzurri to advance at the expense of the South Americans. 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.[5] Though he lacked the intimidating presence of a typical out-and-out striker, he more than made up for this with his keen sense of opportunism and sharp finishing skills.

In August 1990, he was named vice-president of Lega Pro Prima Divisione club A.S. Pescina Valle del Giovenco.[6]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Italy's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 2 June 1978 Estadio Mundialista, Mar del Plata  France 1–1 2–1 1978 World Cup
2. 6 June 1978 Estadio Mundialista, Mar del Plata  Hungary 1–0 3–1 1978 World Cup
3. 18 June 1978 Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires  Austria 1–0 1–0 1978 World Cup
4. 21 December 1978 Stadio Olimpico, Rome  Spain 1–0 1–0 Friendly
5. 24 February 1979 San Siro, Milan  Netherlands 2–0 3–0 Friendly
6. 26 May 1979 Stadio Olimpico, Rome  Argentina 2–1 2–2 Friendly
7. 13 June 1979 Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb  Yugoslavia 1–0 1–4 Friendly
8. 5 July 1982 Estadio Sarriá, Barcelona  Brazil 1–0 3–2 1982 World Cup
9. 2–1
10. 3–2
11. 8 July 1982 Camp Nou, Barcelona  Poland 1–0 2–0 1982 World Cup
12. 2–0
13. 11 July 1982 Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid  West Germany 1–0 3–1 1982 World Cup
14. 5 October 1983 Stadio della Vittoria, Bari  Greece 3–0 3–0 Friendly
15. 22 December 1983 Stadio Renato Curi, Perugia  Cyprus 3–1 3–1 Euro 1984 qualifier
16. 4 February 1984 Stadio Olimpico, Rome  Mexico 2–0 5–0 Friendly
17. 3–0
18. 4–0
19. 5 February 1985 Dalymount Park, Dublin  Republic of Ireland 1–0 2–1 Friendly
20. 3 April 1985 Stadio Cino e Lillo Del Duca, Ascoli Piceno  Portugal 2–0 2–0 Friendly

Career statistics[edit]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1975–76 Como Serie A 6 0
1976–77 Lanerossi Vicenza Serie B 36 21
1977–78 Serie A 30 24
1978–79 28 15
1979–80 Perugia 28 13
1980–81 0 0
1981–82 Juventus 3 1
1982–83 23 7 9 6
1983–84 30 13 9 2
1984–85 27 3 10 5
1985–86 Milan 20 2
1986–87 Hellas Verona 20 4
Total Italy 251 103
Career total 251 103


Italy national team
Year Apps Goals
1977 1 0
1978 10 4
1979 5 3
1980 3 0
1981 0 0
1982 11 6
1983 7 2
1984 6 3
1985 3 2
1986 2 0
Total 48 20







  1. ^ "Biography for Paolo Rossi". Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "The history of the world transfer record". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Archived from the original on 29 April 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Dan Warren (25 July 2006). "The worst scandal of them all". BBC News. Archived from the original on 26 July 2006. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Above.
  6. ^ "Juventus legend Rossi back in football at Pescina". 6 August 2009. Archived from the original on 10 August 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  7. ^

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Giuseppe Savoldi
World football transfer record
Succeeded by
Diego Maradona