|Full Name : Paolo Rossi
Date Of Birth: September 23, 1956
Place of Birth: Santa Lucia, Italy
National Career: 1977-1986
Caps: 48 (20)
Paolo Rossi (born September 23, 1956) is an Italian former football (soccer) player. In 1982, he led Italy to the 1982 FIFA World Cup title, scoring six goals to win the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball. Rossi was the only player to have won all three honours at a single tournament until Lionel Messi in the 2005 U-20 FIFA World Cup in Netherlands and Sergio Aguero in the 2007 U-20 FIFA World Cup staged in Canada.
Rossi was born at Santa Lucia, in the province of Prato (Tuscany).
He made his debut in professional Italian soccer with Como, to which Juventus had sent him to gain experience after three operations to his knees.
His career came to a turning point when Vicenza, then Lanerossi Vicenza, engaged him: in the 1976-'77 season Rossi's qualities of implacable striker led his team to the promotion to Serie A, Italy's soccer first division. In the following season Rossi scored 24 goals, and was selected by 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 millions 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.
Whilst 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.
Bearzot, however, stauncely 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 defeating Argentina 2-1, Rossi scored three memorable goals to shock Brazil 3-2 to qualify for the semi finals against Poland. Here his two goals again won the match for Italy against Poland. He also scored the first of the three goals with which Italy beat Germany in the final, giving his team their third World Cup.
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.
After 1982 Rossi played with Juventus, winning one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1984) and one European Winners 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's abilities, however, were declining. He ended his career at Hellas Verona in 1987. He is currently a construction entrepreneur, together with his former teammate Giancarlo Salvi.
Rossi scored a total of 20 goals in 48 caps for Italy.
Rossi was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.
Coppa Italia: 1982-83
UEFA Champions League: 1984-85
Cup Winner's Cup: 1984
European Super Cup: 1984
Italy National Team
FIFA World Cup: 1982
World Cup Best Scorer: 1982 (6)
World Cup Best Player: 1982
World Player Of The Year: 1982
European Footballer of the Year: 1982
FIFA 100 (125 greatest living players, as selected by Pelé): 2004