The Italian legend, who helped Italy to lift the 1982 World Cup, died on Wednesday aged 64.
La Gazzetta dello Sport was privileged to publish a heartbreaking letter by
for his legend,
, where he confessed he could never be like
“My awakening, another beating. A great cornerstone of Italian football leaves us. Paolo, PABLITO, PAOLO ROSSI,”
“Almost always he had to be called with name and surname: he was not Rossi he is, and always will be, PAOLO ROSSI.
“The sweet memories of when I was 10 years old come to the surface, preserved for decades in one of the many albums of my memory.
“Today, thanks to Pablito, I skim through that album. I remember my beloved father Fiorindo, who passed away just a few months ago, and I traveling almost 12 kilometers, in two on a bicycle, to get to Vicenza starting from Caldogno.
“We went to the Stadio Menti to watch the great Paolo Rossi. Then, throughout the game, I clung to the fence to watch him play and score.
“I thought one day I’d be playing in that stadium too, wearing that beautiful shirt with the big R on my chest. Imitating Paolo Rossi, I could have realized what he managed to achieve. Win a World Cup in the final against Brazil.
“What Paolo Rossi did against Germany. Win the Ballon d'Or, as Paolo Rossi did. Win on the suffering of struggling knees. Like Paolo Rossi did. Winning in a world that needs more and more the smile of Paolo Rossi.
“A wonderful trip to China recently brought us together again. We talked a lot about how much we had lived in common, and how much we should do for a better future. Especially in football.
“Paolo made the dream of millions of Italians came true, something that I couldn’t accomplish. Understanding the mystery of life today and give a reason to the things that happen to us, is not easy, like the emptiness that Paolo leaves in the heart of his wife and his three children to whom go my thoughts and my understanding.
“Goodbye Paolo, I wonder if you will wear your football boots when you are in the sky. I hope so, I hope your smile arrives there too. We will remember it here for a long time. Have a safe journey Paolo, in the eternal sky of the quiet light.”
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