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There is no more remarkable story in World Cup history than that of Paolo Rossi. In the late 1970s, Rossi was regarded as one of the best strikers in the world. In 1980 though, he was involved in one of the biggest scandals in soccer history to date.


Rossi was banned for two years from football for his role in a match-fixing scandal, while at Perugia. Everyone thought that would be the end of Rossi, and that he was finished. The football world was stunned when Italian manager, Enzo Bearzot, put him on Italy’s roster for the 1982 World Cup, just days after his ban ended.

Paolo Rossi
Rossi started the tournament in very poor form, as his skills were very rusty. He didn’t score in any of Italy’s first three matches, and they barely scrapped through to the second round. The pressure on Bearzot was incredible, as people were furious that he had chosen Rossi.

In Italy’s next match, they put in a good performance and beat Argentina. In their last match of the second round, though, they would have to beat Brazil, who was the best team in the world. This is when the fate of Rossi and the Italian team would turn.

Rossi, Italy - brazil 1982
Rossi put in one of the all-time most memorable performances in World Cup history. He single-handedly won the match for Italy, as he scored a hat trick in a 3-2 win. A performance for the ages. 

rossi 1982
Rossi was determined to prove that it was not a one-time thing and continued his brilliant play for the rest of the tournament. He scored two goals in the semifinals and one in the final to finish as the Golden Boot winner with six. Italy would also go on to win their third World Cup, and there was no dispute as to who the hero was.

Paolo Rossi 1982
The 1982 World Cup turned Rossi’s life around. He went on to have great success in club football in Italy and a successful career in real estate after he retired. Rossi became a huge star after the World Cup, and every Italian forgot about his role in the scandal.

Rossi and world cup

Join us in celebrating Paolo Rossi, 


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