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FAREWELL

Paolo Rossi, the hero of the Italian team of Spain 1982, wine lover and winemaker, has passed away

“The most beautiful toast? The one on the pitch when we won the World Cup: there was a bottle of Ferrari...”, he told WineNews

He made Brazil and Germany cry, giving Italy the most beautiful and unexpected World Cup, the 1982 one in Spain. Today, Paolo Rossi makes Italians cry, as they wake up orphaned of the player who has been the symbol of at least two generations, but also three, if we consider the importance of a feat echoed for decades on TV, radio and in family stories. “Pablito”, as he was affectionately called after the Spanish World Cup, in which he was the absolute protagonist, with 6 goals that earned him the Ballon d’Or at the end of the year, has died in Rome, aged 64, following complications from a lung tumor. Tuscan, from Prato, who grew up in Juventus and exploded in the legendary Lanerossi Vicenza, he lived a career that was anything but simple, culminating with a World Cup that redeemed him in the eyes of the soccer world after his two-year disqualification for the betting scandal.
After hanging up his shoes, he has never really left the football, dedicating himself to TV, as a columnist for the main national broadcasters. He also tried a political career, at the end of the nineties, before throwing himself full time into the passion he had always had, the one for wine. First as a simple wine lover, then as a producer. At Poggio Cennina, a resort and farm since 2004 owned by Paolo Rossi, in Bucine (Arezzo), where Borgo Cennina IGT is made from the Sangiovese grapes of the farm, organically grown. At the last Vinitaly, in April 2019, he had instead presented a line dedicated to his exploits in the pitch: “Pablito - Another Great Match”, declining in the bottle the great oenological territories of the Belpaese: Brunello, Amarone della Valpolicella, Barolo and Prosecco.
Right in that occasion, WineNews had the pleasure of meeting him, telling, in Pablito's words, about his love for wine. “A strong attraction, for everyone, it is a passion I always had, but when I was in business I could not exaggerate, even though half a glass of wine is always good. It is a passion that has grown over the years and with time. Wine has charm, it is pleasing, it gives joy and happiness, it creates conviviality, lunches and dinners are organized with friends in order to uncork a bottle, it comes out from the earth and ends up in the bottle giving unique sensations, that’s why many people, even in the world of soccer, fall in love with it. The most beautiful toast? The one on the field when we won the World Cup: it was July 11, 1982, there was a bottle of Ferrari and we all drank it, celebrating with an Italian product, it was just like that and I remember it as if it were now, it is one of those moments engraved in the memory, in which time stops, giving us back a photograph. It was great not only because we won, but because we rejoiced with the whole of Italy”.
At the end of the day, we were all a little stuck on that July 11, 1982, even those who weren’t there yet. “Center ball to Muller, stops Scirea, Bergomi, Gentile... it’s over. World Champions, World Champions, World Champions!”. The voice of Nando Martellini came out of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid and entered millions of Italian homes. Paolo Rossi, celebrating on the pitch with a bottle of Ferrari, gave Italy the most beautiful and shared memory of the post-war period.

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