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Top facts about Luigi Riva, the Roar of Thunder

Thu 14 October 2021 | 5:30

Luigi Riva is still the standard by which all Italian strikers are judged. The striker was renowned for his confidence and he soon became a celebrity figure. Read on to find out more facts about Luigi Riva, the god of Cagliari.

Luigi "Gigi" Riva (born 7 November 1944) is a retired professional footballer from Italy who featured as a center-forward.

Luigi Riva’s age

is 76. Here you can find out the most important facts about Luigi Riva, the legendary former striker.

One of the finest players of his age and one of the finest attackers of all time, he is widely regarded as one of the best strikers of all time.

The first fact about Luigi Riva is that he had a fantastic finishing record for Cagliari, due to his calm demeanor in front of goal, strong left foot, and aerial abilities; his speed, strength, and eye for goal earned him the nickname "Rombo di Tuono" from Italian writer Gianni Brera (Roar of Thunder).

Riva spent his entire career with Cagliari, except from his first season with Legnano, when he helped the Sardinian club gain promotion to the Italian top flight for the first time in 1964 and subsequently led the team to their only Serie A championship in 1969–70.

Riva was a member of the Italian national team that claimed the 1968 UEFA European Championship and finished second in the 1970 FIFA World Cup; he also played in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. He is Italy's all-time top goalscorer, with 35 goals in 42 games (in all professional events) between 1965 and 1974.

Riva temporarily served as the president of Cagliari during the 1986–87 season after retiring in 1976, and subsequently served as the squad coach and director of the Italian national team from 1988 to 2013.

Top facts about Luigi Riva:

An important

fact about Luigi Riva

is that he was a dominating figure in Serie A in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a well-rounded, courageous, and prolific striker. In the 66-67, 68-69, and 69-70 seasons, he was the league's top scorer three times, and in the 69-70 season, Cagliari won the Serie A championship for the first time.

Luigi Riva early life

Riva was born on November 7, 1944, into a poor family in Leggiuno, a tiny town near the Swiss border in the northern Italian region of Varese, Lombardy.

Speaking about

Luigi Riva’s parents

, it should be mentioned that his mother, Edis, was a stay-at-home mom, while his father, Ugo, started as a hairdresser, then a tailor, and last at a factory, where he perished in a work-related incident when Luigi was nine years old.

Regarding

Luigi Riva’s childhood

, it should be mentioned that he was transferred to a rigorous Catholic boarding school, where he stayed for three years until obtaining a job in a lift factory and starting to pursue soccer; his mother died shortly after.

Luigi Riva personal life

Riva has two children, Mauro and Nicola, who grew up in Sardinia. Gigi Riva destroyed his parents' old house in Leggiuno and had a new one constructed several years after leaving his hometown.

Despite the unpleasant recollections, he enjoys spending time there, going to the local pub and socializing with old acquaintances. After all, it was among the beaches of Lake Maggiore that he first booted a football into a stone goal.

On 9 February 2005, at the council chamber of the Municipality of Cagliari, the mayor Emilio Floris granted him honorary citizenship.

That same evening, before Italy's match against

Russia

played at the Sant'Elia stadium, Cagliari withdrew forever the number eleven jersey, which was given to Riva by Rocco Sabato, the last rossoblù player to have worn it, with a ceremony attended by many players who with him had won the championship of the 1969-70 season.

Luigi Riva professional career

Luigi Riva played as a center-forward and as one of the best players of his generation, he enjoyed a remarkable scoring record for Cagliari, thanks to his composure in front of goal, powerful left foot and aerial ability; his speed, strength and eye for goal led the Italian journalist Gianni Brera to nickname him "Rombo di Tuono" (Roar of Thunder).

Aside from his debut season with Legnano, Riva remained with the Sardinian club for his entire career: he helped Cagliari achieve promotion to the Italian top-flight for the first time in 1964, and later led the club to their only Serie A title in 1969–70.

At international level, Riva won the 1968 UEFA European Championship and was runner-up at the 1970 FIFA World Cup with the Italian national team; he also took part at the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

International recognition cemented Riva’s status as a player of genuine class and quality. He made his Azzurri debut in June 1965 in a 2-1 defeat to

Hungary

.

Luigi Riva club career

An important

fact about Luigi Riva

is that he began his football career as a member of the Laveno Mombello youth team in Lombardy, where he scored 30 goals in 1961 and 33 the next year. He made his professional debut in 1962, when he was 18 years old, with Serie C side Legnano-Ivrea, scoring six goals in 22 games in his first season.

The youngster's promising performances drew the notice of Cagliari president Enrico Rocca, and he was signed by the Serie B club the following year for a significant amount of 37 million Lire, at the age of 19; Riva stayed with the Sardinian team for the remainder of his career.

He scored eight goals in 26 games in his debut season with the club, helping Cagliari to a second-place finish in the league behind Varese, allowing the club to earn promotion to the top division for the first time in their 40-year existence.

Cagliari

A notable

fact about Luigi Riva

is that he made his Serie A debut for Cagliari in a 2–1 defeat to

Roma

on September 13, 1964, and helped the club escape relegation by guiding the squad to a comfortable sixth-place finish in the league, scoring an impressive 9 goals in 32 games at the age of 20.

Riva went on to help Cagliari finish second in the Coppa Italia, four points behind Roma, and the league, four points behind Fiorentina, in the 1968–69 season, winning the capocannoniere title for the second time with 20 goals in 29 appearances; Cagliari had been leading the league until the 21st matchday, when a loss at home to

Juventus

caused the team to surrender their lead.

Riva finally managed to win his first career Serie A title with Cagliari during the 1969–70 season, just after the entrance of colleague forwards Angelo Domenghini and Sergio Gori from Inter in the summer of 1969 in exchange for Boninsegna.

A notable fact about Luigi Riva is that he led the team's front line under boss Manlio Scopigno and his aggressive tactics, scoring several crucial goals that ultimately helped the club win the championship.

Riva scored two goals in a 2–2 away draw against second-placed Juventus on March 15, 1970, with Cagliari having climbed to the top of the table with six league games remaining; his second, equalizing goal came from a penalty with eight minutes remaining, and the outcome permitted Cagliari to preserve their lead over the Turin side in Serie A.

Cagliari was still in first position by three points heading into April, with three games left; to retain the Scudetto, Cagliari had to win their upcoming game at home versus Bari, while Juventus needed to lose away against Lazio to stay in second place.

Riva scored the opening goal in a 2–0 win over Bari at the Stadio Amsicora on April 12, while Juventus were defeated 2–0 by

Lazio

in Rome, with goals from Gian Piero Ghio and Giorgio Chinaglia; as a consequence, Cagliari were officially named Serie A champions for the first time in their history, with two matches to spare, and also secured a place in the European Cup the following season.

Riva completed the season as the top scorer with 21 goals, making it the first time a team south of Rome had ever claimed the league championship.

Riva's skill, influential goalscoring, and crucial appearances in leading a small, regional club like Cagliari from Serie B to Serie A saw him become one of the best strikers in the world during this period: he was the Serie A top scorer three times, in 1966–67, 1968–69, and 1969–70, and he finished second in the 1969 Ballon d'Or, behind compatriot Gianni Rivera, and third in the 1970 Ballon d'Or.

Riva's season got off to a promising start after Cagliari won the league: in the early weeks of the season, he helped Cagliari to the top of the league table with a string of impressive results, including a 3–1 away win over Inter at the San Siro stadium on October 29, 1970, in which he scored twice and earned the nickname "Rombo di Tuono" (Roar of Thunder) from journalist Gianni Brera for his dominant performance.

An important fact about Luigi Riva is that he also made his European Cup debut that season, scoring two goals in Cagliari's 3–0 home win over Saint-Étienne in the first leg of the competition's first round; he subsequently scored a third goal in the tournament in the club's 2–1 home win against

Atlético Madrid

in the first leg of the second round.

Riva's season was cut short in late October when he suffered a serious injury while playing for the Italian national team in a European qualifying match; in his absence, Cagliari were quickly eliminated from the European Cup in the round of 16, and dropped down the domestic table, eventually finishing seventh.

A notable fact about Luigi Riva is that he scored 21 goals in 30 games after returning from his injury in the 1971–72 season, ranking second in the league in goals scored and leading Cagliari to a fourth-place finish and a berth in the UEFA Cup the next season.

Following Scopigno's departure, Cagliari's performances deteriorated over the following two seasons, with the club only achieving low mid-table places, but Riva's goalscoring output remained constant, with 12 goals in 1972–73 and 15 in 1973–74.

Riva stayed faithful to Cagliari despite having established himself as a world-class player, and turned down numerous offers from bigger teams, particularly from northern Italy, when Cagliari languished in the league throughout the mid-1970s.

During his time with Cagliari, he demonstrated his loyalty to the club by turning down lucrative offers from Serie A giants Juventus in order to stay in the Sardinian capital, despite numerous press reports claiming that he had already signed with the Turin club in exchange for large, record-breaking sums and several of their own players.

Riva's career was ravaged by several significant injuries, particularly with the Italian national team, which severely restricted his playing period in later seasons; he did miss 35 games in the five seasons immediately prior to 1971, and only emerged in 24 games for Cagliari between 1974 and 1976, resulting in a drop in his goalscoring rate and the team's overall efficiency.

Riva ruptured a tendon and tore an adductor muscle in his right thigh on 1 February 1976, while playing for Cagliari against Milan, following a tangible scapular contest near the corner sign from Aldo Bet, after being hunted down by the

Milan

defender.

Riva's injuries restricted him to just 15 appearances in the 1975–76 Serie A season; despite scoring six goals in eight games during his last season, Cagliari finished bottom in the league and were relegated to Serie B in his absence.

Riva scored 248 goals for club and country in 439 games throughout his career, including 164 league goals in 315 appearances with Cagliari, 156 of which came in 289 Serie A matches. During his thirteen seasons with Cagliari, he scored 207 goals in 374 games in all competitions, and 213 lifetime club goals in 397 matches.

Luigi Riva international career

An important fact about Luigi Riva is that he earned his senior international appearance for Italy at the age of 20, in a 2–1 friendly loss versus Hungary on June 27, 1965, coming in for the injured Ezio Pascutti in the eighth minute; he was the first Cagliari athlete to be capped at senior international level.

Riva's international career got off to a shaky start, with renowned writer Gianni Brera criticizing his performance in his second appearance for Italy, a 0–0 friendly tie against France in Paris on March 19, 1966. Riva was originally characterized as a "one-footed" and "incomplete player" by Brera.

He was controversially left out of the 22-man 1966 FIFA World Cup roster, but manager Edmondo Fabbri took him to England, along with Mario Bertini, as an extra reserve, to acquire experience with the national team; Italy were ousted in the first round of the competition.

After breaking both his left tibia and fibula in his third international presence, a 1–1 friendly home draw against

Portugal

on March 27, 1967, Riva brought back to the national team as a starter seven months later, and scored his first goal for Italy in his fourth international appearance, a 5–0 home victory over Cyprus on November 1, 1967, in a UEFA Euro 1968 qualification game, later completing his international career.

Riva was a member of the Italian team that managed to win the 1968 European Championships on home soil under boss Ferruccio Valcareggi; after recovering from a leg injury, he returned to the starting lineup and managed to score the opening goal in the twelfth minute of the final replay in Rome on 10 June, which ended in a 2–0 victory over Yugoslavia.

Riva was a member of the Italian team that won the 1968 European Championships Riva was selected to the Tournament Team as a result of his performance in the match.

Riva scored a spectacular diving header in a 3–0 away victory over East Germany in a World Cup qualification match at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples on November 22, 1969, to secure Italy's participation in the 1970 World Cup; previous to the tournament, he had scored 19 goals in just 16 appearances.

An important fact about Luigi Riva is that he was expected to perform well at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, but he struggled in the first round, failing to score in each of Italy's three group matches, despite both Riva and his strike partner Angelo Domenghini having goals wrongly disallowed for offside in Italy's final group match, a 0–0 draw with Israel on June 11.

Riva eventually scored in the second round of the World Cup after a string of dismal and goalless games in the group stage, as well as widespread media criticism and scrutiny.

He scored two goals, both from Gianni Rivera assists, to help Italy beat

Mexico

4–1 in the quarter-finals on 14 June, establishing a noteworthy attacking combination with the Milan playmaker in the knock-out stages of the tournament.

Riva then scored a vital extra-time goal – his 22nd in 21 international games – against West Germany in Italy's 4–3 semi-final win on June 17, dubbed the "Game of the Century." The Italian team came in second place in the tournament after losing 4–1 in the final against

Brazil

; Riva was Italy's leading scorer with three goals.

A notable fact about Luigi Riva is that he fractured his right leg in a European qualifying match later that year while on international duty; he was forced off in the 76th minute of a 2–1 away victory over Austria at the Praterstadion in Vienna, after a heavy tackle by Austrian defender Norbert Hof.

Later in life, he became Italy's all-time leading scorer and the 1974 World Cup winner. Riva became one of just six players with the Italian national team to score four goals in a 5–0 home victory against Luxembourg in a World Cup qualification match on March 31, 1973.

On June 9, he equaled Giuseppe Meazza's record of 33 goals as Italy's all-time top goalscorer, scoring in a 2–0 friendly against Brazil in Rome; Meazza allegedly said after the match: "Riva is a terrific player who has scored many goals against Cyprus and

Turkey

. Surely, my objectives were much more essential."

Riva subsequently broke Meazza's record with his 34th international goal in a 2–0 home victory over Sweden in a friendly on September 29, 1973, and his last and 35th goal for Italy in a 2–0 home win over Switzerland in a World Cup qualification match on October 20, 1973.

Riva was dropped for the last group game against

Poland

, which saw Italy eliminated in the first round of the tournament after a 2–1 defeat; he made his 42nd and final appearance for Italy at the age of 29 in Italy's second group Riva is remains Italy's all-time leading goalscorer, with 35 goals in only 42 games at an average of 0.83 goals per game.

Riva is Italy's all-time top goalscorer, with 17 goals in FIFA World Cup and FIFA World Cup qualification matches, as well as the highest goalscorer in FIFA World Cup qualifiers, with 14 goals. In addition, he shares the national team's record for most goals scored on foreign soil with Silvio Piola, with 13.

Luigi Riva after retirement

An important fact about Luigi Riva is that he stayed in Cagliari after retiring, and in 1976, he established the first football school in Sardinia, which carries his name.

He subsequently returned to his old club as an executive; he also briefly served as Cagliari's president during the 1986–87 season, but stepped down after just a few months in December 1986, and was succeeded by Lucio Cordeddu.

He later worked for the Italian national football team as a director and then as a team managing staff member from 1988 to 2013, and was also a member of the technical staff for the Italian national team that won the 2006 FIFA World Cup under his supervision; captain

Fabio Cannavaro

praised him for his role in Italy's fourth World Cup title victory.

Riva's number 11 jersey was retired by Cagliari on January 5, 2005, to honor him and his achievements with the club; Rocco Sabato, the last holder of the number 11 shirt, presented Riva with his jersey in an official ceremony held at Cagliari's Stadio Sant'Elia ahead of Italy's friendly match against Russia. The Sardinian club retired Riva's shirt as the first to do so.

Luigi Riva style of play

A notable fact about Luigi Riva is that he was a well-rounded, courageous, prolific, and opportunistic forward with an amazing finishing ability; owing to his domination and talent, some in the sport believe him to be Italy's greatest player ever.

Early in his career, he was used as a winger on the left side, but he would often cut into the center of the field in order to score; as a consequence, he was subsequently used in a more attacking and central position, as a primary striker, where he thrived owing to his eye for goal.

He was a naturally left-footed player with a strong and precise shot from both inside and beyond the area, earning him the moniker "Rombo di Tuono" (Roar of Thunder) from Gianni Brera. Although he was mostly left-footed, he could score with his right foot on occasion.

Riva excelled in the air with to his height, strong body, elevation, and heading accuracy, and he also had a knack for scoring stunning, acrobatic goals from bicycle kicks, thanks to his agility and volleying skill.

Despite his towering stature and physical prowess, he had exceptional technical ability, inventiveness, and dribbling abilities, as well as a deft first touch and noticeable grace on the court.

He was a very fit, hard-working, and quick player with remarkable endurance who excelled during sprints and attacking runs, in addition to his goalscoring ability and technique. He could also take free kicks and penalty kicks with precision.

Despite his abilities, he was plagued by injuries throughout his career, which hampered his mobility, consistency, and fitness, forcing him to retire early.

Some quick facts about Luigi Riva:

Luigi Riva was a member of the Italian team that won the European Championship in 1968 and finished second in the World Cup in 1970. He also came close to winning the Ballon d'Or in two consecutive seasons, but finished second and third, respectively, in 1969 and 1970. But what was it about him that made him so good?

A notable fact about Luigi Riva is that he was a natural left-footer with exceptional shooting skills. He was never hesitant to take a long shot and had a lot of success scoring goals from beyond the box. These characteristics gave him the moniker 'Rombo di Tuono,' which translates to 'Roar of the Thunder.'

His weaker foot was very excellent, and he was able to dribble past opponents and score goals with it. He was an excellent dribbler of the ball, in addition to his shooting and heading skills. Riva wasn't as skilled as today's wingers, but he could dribble past opponents with a few basic touches and some speed.

He was able to assist in the build-up phase and had several touches with the midfielders. Another characteristic that separated him apart from the rest of the group was his ability to read the game. With his excellent positional sense, he understood his job and that of his teammates well, and inadvertently altered the tone of the game.

In addition to his goal-scoring skills, he was a physically strong and industrious player with exceptional endurance and speed. Riva also scored goals from direct set-pieces and from free kicks from outside the area.

Despite possessing all of these qualities, his career was unfortunately marred by many injuries. His fitness, speed, and stamina were all harmed as a result of these injuries, and he was forced to retire early.

Cagliari supporters remember him fondly, and his contribution to the Serie A-winning Cagliari team is widely recognized. Luigi Riva is still regarded as one of the greatest attackers of all time and one of the best of his age.

Luigi Riva social media

Regarding

Luigi Riva social media

, it should be mentioned that he does not have an active page on any social media platforms.

Luigi Riva body measurements

Speaking about

Luigi Riva body measurements

, it should be mentioned that former star is 180 cm and weighs 78 kg.

Luigi Riva net worth and salary

Luigi Riva’s net worth

is around $10 Million. Riva is one of the richest soccer players & is listed on the most popular soccer players. From his main profession as a soccer player, he has amassed a substantial fortune.

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