‘Pablito’ Rossi has died at the age of 64

In their 1982 World Cup campaign in Spain, which won him the Ballon d’Or later that year, Paolo Rossi scored six goals for Italy; UEFA confirms the silence of a minute ahead of Thursday’s matches for the former Juventus and AC Milan striker

His passing was confirmed by Italy’s state TV channel RAI Sport on Wednesday evening, where Rossi had been working as a sports expert.

Rossi’s wife, Federica Cappelletti, and the words “per sempre” – “forever” sharing an image of herself and her marriage on Instagram.

She subsequently published a photograph of him on Facebook, along with his three children: “There will never be anyone like you, unique, special, after you sheer nothingness.”

He was awarded two Serie A, European Cup and Coppa Italia titles in his career, but is most gently recalled for his six World Cup goals in Spain in 1982 – where he got the endearing name Pablito from his exploits.

Rossi scored a hat-trick in Italy’s legendary 3-2 victory over Brazil in the second group stage, a match deemed one of the best in the history of the World Cup, despite failing to score in the first four games of the tournament.

Italy led a squad comprising the Brazilians as well as Argentina’s Diego Armando Maradona and advanced to the semi-finals, where Rossi scored two more goals in a 2-0 victory over Poland.

As Italy defeated West Germany 3-1 to win their third World Cup – and their first since 1938 – the former Juventus and AC Milan striker opened the scoring in the final as well.

He was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 1982, being just the third Italian to receive the award at the time.

Rossi was born in Prato, Tuscany. He played in Italy during his career as a club. In 1980, in the sense of the Totonero he was suspended for three years, but he still denied any misdemeanor.

The ban was shortened to two years later, allowing him back to Italy in the run up to the winning 1982 World Cup campaign, where Head Coach Enzo Bearzot called him before Series A Top Scorer Roberto Pruzzo. He even called him up.

He also scored three goals at the 1978 Argentina World Cup, and remains Italy, together with Roberto Baggio and Christian Vieri, the highest scorer of the World Cup with a total of 9 goals.

UEFA say there will be a moment of silence on Thursday before all the games of the Europa League to commemorate Rossi.