Paolo Rossi Emotional Funeral Ceremony

Vicenza, Italy, Dec 12 (AFP/APP):Hundreds gathered to bid farewall to Italy’s 1982 World Cup hero Paolo Rossi during an emotional funeral ceremony in Vicenza Cathedral on Saturday.

Rossi’s World Cup-winning teammates carried the simple wooden coffin of the forward known as ‘Pablito’ before and after the ceremony in the city’s Duomo. “If I am world champion I owe it to him,” said former Italy defender Fulvio Collovati. Rossi fired the Azzurri to their third World Cup triumph in Spain with his six goals, winning the Ballon d’Or the same year. His death after a long illness on Wednesday aged 64 prompted an outpouring of national grief and tributes, and in particular in Vicenza, the northeastern city whose football team he lifted into Serie A.

Thousands had flocked to pay their respects at Vicenza’s Stadio Menti on Friday where Rossi’s coffin had been on public display. And on Saturday, hundreds gathered outside the city’s Duomo with 250 people allowed attend amid Covid-19 restrictions, with the ceremony broadcast live on national television.

“I didn’t just lose a teammate, but a friend, a brother,” former Italy defender Antonio Cabrini said during the ceremony.

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