Wed 07 April 2021 | 13:30

Paolo Rossi Biography

The memory of football legends who made happy moments for us will never be erased from our minds. The subject of the following article is Paolo Rossi Biography.

The history of Italian football was made by those whom the world still speaks of with pride and love after several years and the significant decline of the Italian national team. The world may know Italian football for its strong defense, but there were still some strikers who tried to keep their country's flag raised with unforgettable goals. Paolo Rossi is one of those strikers who caused deep grief to the world with his death in 2020. Let's move forward to have an in-depth look at the personal and professional life of Paolo Rossi. 

All You Need to Know About Paolo Rossi Biography

Paolo Rossi was born in Prato. Unlike many of his contemporaries, even current players, he did not attempt to persuade his father to start playing football. His father who was an amateur football player at the time,  believed that his son's unparalleled talent in football would make him famous in the world. Keep reading to learn more about 

 Paolo Rossi life story


Paolo Rossi information

In the following part of

Paolo Rossi Biography

, you can find some general information about him listed down here.

Paolo Rossi Bio

  • Full Name:

     Paolo Rossi

  • Nickname

    : Pablito

  • Profession

    : Professional Football Player

Paolo Rossi Physical Stats

  • Weight

    : 66 Kilograms

  • Height

    : 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)

  • Eye Color

    : Brown

  • Hair Color

    : Brown 

Paolo Rossi Football Information

  • Position

    : Striker

  • Jersey Number

    : 20

  • Professional Debut

    : 1973

Paolo Rossi Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth

    : 23 September 1956

  • Birth Place

    :  Prato, Italy

  • Zodiac Sign

    : Libra

  • Paolo Rossi Nationality

    : Italian

  • Paolo Rossi Religion

    : not specified

Paolo Rossi Early Life

In this section of

Paolo Rossi Biography,

we will have a glance at his early life. Paolo Rossi started his early career when he was a 17-year-old boy with


in the 1972-71 season. However, he couldn't make his Serie A debut with Juve, he could only play in three matches in Coppa Italia between 1972 and 1975. In his early football years, he often got injured, so in 1975 after being under three operations on his knees, he was sent to


for one year. There, he could make his Serie A debut during the 1975–76 season but still at the end of the season, he could not score any goals. 

Paolo Rossi Profile

In this division of Paolo Rossi biography, we will review her professional career from his early days until now that he still considered as one of the legends in football history. As mentioned above, following his repetitive injuries in Juve, he went on loan to Como. Once his loan contract finished, he decided to join

 Vicenza Calcio

 (then Lanerossi Vicenza) again on a loan contract. Before the commencement of the season, Giovan Battista Fabbri, the then coach of Vicenza decided to move him from the wing and deploy him in the center of the attack. In his new position, Rossi soon showed his real talent as a striker especially in getting open in the box and scoring. With his help and his 21 goals in his debut spell, Vicenza could win the Serie B title, and later on, he led his side to promotion to Serie A, and he also led Vicenza to the second group stage of the Coppa Italia that season.

His period in Vicenza finished as he became the first player to top the scoring charts in Serie B and Serie A in consecutive seasons, in 1979 as his loan contract finished, Juventus and Vicenza reached an agreement that kept Rossi with Vicenza. Lanerossi offered the shocking sum of 2.612 billion lire for Rossi, so he became the world's most expensive player and Italy's most costly sportsman ever at that point. Following his new fixed contract and after the 1978 world cup, in the 1978–79 season, Rossi made his European debut with Vicenza in the UEFA Cup, and throughout the season, he could score 15 goals but his efforts couldn't help his side as they were relegated to Serie B. 

Afterward, as he wanted to play in Serie A, he joined


which was not at all a successful decision. As a consequence of the Match-fixing scandal, he was banned for three years. In the following year, his former club, Juventus, bought him for $700,000 in 1981 and he could soon establish himself in the starting line-up and led the club to win the 1981-82 Serie A title. His time with The Old Lady lasted four years during which, Rossi could help the club to win the 1983 Coppa Italia and to reach the 1983 European Cup final. He also won his second Scudetto title with the club, and by his 13 goals led the club to win the 1983–84 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, followed by the 1984 UEFA Super Cup and European Cup in 1985. 

His next club was another Italian side,

Ac Milan.

He made his Milan debut in the 1985 season which was a troubled spell, with the president Farina going into exile to South Africa, suspected of stealing money from the club. Rossi only spent a year with Rossoneri and during this short time, he was mainly remembered for his two-goal performance against Internazionale in a Milan derby match. Following his departure from Milan, Rossi signed

Hellas Verona

during the 1986–87 season and after helping them to a fourth-place finish in Serie he announced his retirement. 

Style of Play

Even though Rossi didn't have an intimidating physical presence of a typical out-and-out striker, he was widely considered as one of the greatest forwards in Italy and even in the world. As a forward, he was a quick, agile, prolific, and elegant center-forward, who was blessed with good technique, balance, extremely quick reactions, an accurate shot. Furthermore, he had an eye for goals, which helped him to anticipate defenders in the box for the ball. As mentioned earlier, he wasn't good in strength, physicality, and shooting power, so he tried to make up his shortcomings with his keen sense of opportunism, intelligence, positional sense, and sharp finishing skills with both of his feet as well as with his head.

Being good in head shooting, allowed him to surpass in the air and beat out bigger opponents for the ball, despite his relatively short stature. Although Rossi was fundamentally recognized as a striker who worked principally in the penalty area, he started as a right-winger, and later in his career with Juventus, due to the club's offensive features, he played in as a support attacker. At that time as Juve signed some new players especially Zbigniew Bonick and Michel Platini, Paolo Rossi's role was often to hold the ball high or pull opponents out of position to create space for his teammates with his excellent offensive movement.


Undoubtedly, the name of Paolo Rossi will live on for years among the people and football fans. He was a player who persistently established himself as a world-class footballer and was suddenly forced to leave football in 1981 after a scandal broke out, but two years later flew out of the ashes like a phoenix. He is now one of the legends in the history of Italian clubs and national football. Rossi scored a total of 20 goals in 48 senior national games for Italy. Rossi is Italy's all-time leading goalscorer at the FIFA World Cup, with nine goals in 14 appearances in two games, alongside Roberto Baggio and Christian Vieri.

With the death of this lovely icon, just two weeks after Maradona's death, the world was drowned in ad deep great grief that the Italian federation president Gabriele Gravina said: "We have lost a friend and an icon of our game, He took an entire country by the hand, which rejoiced in the streets, for him and with him. He is permanently linked to the Azzurri and has inspired generations of forwards with his style." Following his death, Dino Zoff, his former teammate told ANSA news agency. "It had been a while that we hadn't spoken, he had said something but we didn't think it was so serious.". 

Goal Celebration

This late Italian striker, during his career, had no goal celebration as his signature. 

Paolo Rossi Outside Football

Regarding Paolo Rossi's outside activities there are not that much information and record. Four years after his retirement, in 1990, he was chosen as the vice-president of Lega Pro Prima Divisione club A.S. Pescina Valle del Giovenco. Furthermore, according to The Guardian, in retirement, Rossi moved into the world of property development, and owned and ran a vineyard near Arezzo in Tuscany. He also worked as a pundit for various television stations, including Sky, Mediaset Premium, and Rai Sport where he was admired for his down-to-earth presence. Stay tuned as we take a look at

Paolo Rossi biography

to have a better view of his personal life.

Paolo Rossi Personal Life

Paolo Rossi was born on 23 September 1956 in Prato, Italy. His father was an amateur footballer who completely agreed with his appearance in the world of football. His mother though was not in the same boat with the father and the son. As the Guardian wrote "his mother, Amelia, was harder to convince, and it was only with her grudging approval that he signed for Juventus at 16 in 1972, initially as a winger. In Paolo’s early days his mother’s doubts seemed to be justified, as he was laid low by a series of injuries and appeared only rarely for the first team." 

Unfortunately, regarding the personal life and 

Paolo Rossi Childhood

, there is no other available information. The Prolific Azzurri's striker passed away on December 9, 2020, after a long time of suffering from lung cancer. The death of this icon was at the same time with Coronavirus pandemic in the world and only 300 people were allowed to attend church, however, thousands paid tribute to Rossi while his coffin was placed in a viewing room at the Stadio Menti. Sadly, his residence in Bucine was robbed during his funeral in Vicenza on 12 December. Italian national daily Gazzetta dello Sport reported that his wife came back from the service to find the house in disorder and that valuables had been stolen although the most important items of soccer memorabilia linked to Rossi's career had not been taken.

Family, Children, and Relationships

During his 64-year-life Paolo Rossi married twice. There is no detailed record of his former wife, except the fact that her name was Simonetta Rizzato and they have a son named Alessandro Rossi.  After that, he got married to Federica Cappelletti in 2010. She is an Italian author and a journalist who was born in 1972. The couple met each other in 2006 and got married in 2010. They have two daughters, Sofia Elena Rossi, Maria Vittoria Rossi. Meanwhile, it worth mentioning that Federica Cappelletti wrote an Autobiography of Paolo Rossi that was published in 2019. The name of the book is Quanto Dura Un Attimo which means This lasts a Moment. 


Just like other late football legends, Rossi had been involved in philanthropy. One of his most significant works in the field of charity was signing shirts or memorable photos that were later sold at auctions for the benefit of various charities. His signed shirt that he wore in the Juventus season 1983-84, during which Paolo Rossi scored at least 7 goals, was donated to an auction and then was sold to support the project Fekat Circus by Onlus Girotondo for Africa which is an association that was conceived to help humanitarian associations in Africa. Girotondo wishes to provide children and kids living in desperate living conditions with an independent future and to improve their daily living conditions through structured concrete projects.

The signed picture of him raising the World Cup with teammates including Antognoni and Massaro is also sold in benefits of History Life Onlus which is a group of young volunteers with a passion for history and culture and they are concerned with the protection, promotion, and enhancement of culture and art in all of their forms and expressions.  The signed framed photograph of Paolo Rossi during a match against the Argentina National Team, on June 10, 1978, is also sold €350 in benefits of Autism Aid Onlus which is founded in 2004 and its only purpose is to pursue social solidarity by defending the rights and equal opportunities of people suffering from ASD.

Legal Issues

Regarding the legal issues of this football icon, we can only refer to 1980 Totonero which was a match-fixing scandal in Italy in 1980 in Serie A and Serie B. On 23 March 1980, the scandal was revealed by Guardia di Finanza,  an Italian law enforcement agency. The spark for exposing this scandal was lit when two Roman shopkeepers, Alvaro Trinca and Massimo Cruciani, reported that some Italian football players sold football matches for money. Several Italian teams and their staff were complicit in the scandal, and each was punished in some way. One of the players involved in the scandal was Paolo Rossi who was playing in Perugia, though he always claimed to be innocent, and asserted that he had been a victim of an injustice. In that season Rossi managed to score 13 goals and also helped the side to reach the round of 16 of the UEFA Cup but as it was officiated that he had participated in the 1980 Totonero, he was disqualified for three years, though his punishment was later reduced to a two-year ban.  Consequently, Rossi missed the 1980 European Championship with Italy. 

Paolo Rossi Career Statistics


Paolo Rossi biography

, in this part, we would have a rundown of his Career Statistics. 


Throughout his almost 14-year-old career, Paolo Rossi played in six clubs. With his debut club, Juventus between 1973-1975 he could only play in 3 matches. Later on, as he joined Como on a loan contract, in a year he made 6 appearances with no record of goal. For the 1976-77 season, he signed with Lanerossi Vicenza and till 1979 he played in 108 matches and could score 66 goals. For the next two-season, he joined Perugia, and after 36 appearances and 14 goals, once again for the 1981 season, he rejoined his debut club, Juventus. This time during his four-year spell he could play in 135 games and score 44 goals. Afterward, in 1985 he joined another Italian side, Ac Milan in which he played in 26 games and score 3 goals, and later on before his retirement, he signed Hellas Verona with whom he could play in 27 matches and score 7 goals. 


Paolo Rossi's international career started on 21 December 1977 and lasted till 17 June 1986. His national debut came on in a friendly match against


on 21 December 1977. In that match, he could play the full 90 minutes and had one assist. A year after his national debut, in a match against


during the 1978 World Cup, he scored his debut goal. In his first World Cup that


ended fourth as they went out to


, Rossi could score 4 goals.  In 1980, following the Match-Fixing Scandal, he was banned to play in any team so he missed the Euro 1980. But then as his punishment finished, he was invited to represent his country for the 1982 World Cup. As soon as the news of Rossi's joining the national team spread, many believed that it was wrong. Even Italian journalists and Tifosi lamented that he was in very poor shape.

Italy's poor performance in his first three games had drawn criticism, with many describing him as a "ghost aimlessly wandering over the field". However, the then manager of Azzurri ignored all the criticism and confirmed Rossi for the decisive round-robin in the second round which Italy had to play against


and Brazil. Fortunately, Italy could defeat  Argentine 2–1, thanks to the efforts of Claudio Gentile and Gaetano Scirea who shut down the young Argentine icon Diego Maradona. In the next match, Rossi could unbelievably score a hat-trick to defeat Brazil 3–2 to qualify for the semi-finals. It seemed that Rossi backed on track as he could score twice in the semi-final match against


and so Italy reached the final. During the final match against West Germany, Rossi scored the first of Italy's three goals, from an indirect set-piece assist from Gentile that brought Italy the third World Cup title. 

After his outstanding performance in the world cup and his six goals, he once again got popular worldwide. The fans hung banners proclaiming him "Man of the match" and nicknamed him "Pablito" and the "torero". Following his iconic comeback, Peter Mason in a note for the Guardian said that the World Cup final win, which was set up by Rossi's crucial first goal, "was a cathartic moment for the nation, which had been subject to significant social and political unrest for a number of years and, despite being regarded as one of the world's premier footballing nations, had not won a World Cup since 1938... With the victory came an incalculable lift to the nation’s spirits, and Rossi was at the center of the celebrations." Throughout his nearly a decade national career, he could make 48 appearances and score 20 goals, He made his final appearance for Italy on 11 May 1986, in a 2–0 friendly home win over China in Naples.

Paolo Rossi Honors

Undoubtedly, history will never forget the name of this late icon. Paolo Rossi's career is full of honor and achievement. During his three-year spell with Vicenza, he could win the Serie B in 1976–77. Afterward, with Juventus, he won the Serie A in 1981–82, 1983–84, the Coppa Italia in 1982–83, the European Cup in 1984–85, the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983–84, and the UEFA Super Cup in 1984. Beyond all of his clubs' honors, his brilliant football taste brought him tons of individual trophies.

He won the Serie B Top Goalscorer in 1976–77 with 21 goals, Serie A Top Goalscorer in 1977–78 with 24 goals, FIFA World Cup Silver Ball in 1978, FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in 1978, 1982 Gazzetta Sports Awards Man of the Year in 1978, FIFA XI in 1979 and 1986 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot in 1982, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball in 1982. Onze d'Or in 1982, Ballon D'Or in 1982, World Soccer Awards Player of the Year in 1982, L'Équipe Champion of Champions in 1982, European Cup Top Scorers in 1982–83, World Soccer Awards 100 Greatest Players of the 20th Century, FIFA 100, UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll, Golden Foot "Football Legends" in 2007 and the Italian Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

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