Gigi Riva has passed away, Italian football mourns one of its most loved legends

One of the greatest forwards of all time. With 35 goals he is the all-time leading goalscorer for the Italian National team. A minute’s silence will be held before every game this week in his memory

Monday, January 22, 2024

Gigi Riva has passed away, Italian football mourns one of its most loved legends

Italian football mourns one of its greatest legends. Gigi Riva has passed away at the age of 79, otherwise known as Roar of Thunder, he was one of the greatest forwards of all time and the Italian National team's all-time leading goalscorer with 35 goals. A Cagliari legend, he picked up 315 appearances and won one Scudetto with the side in 1969/70, the only one in the Rossoblu history. Loved by Sardinian and Italy fans, he wore the Azzurri shirt with pride.

He was the first player from Cagliari to receive a call-up to the Italy squad with whom he made his debut at 20 years old. He was one of the stars of the 1968 Euros, scoring a crucial goal in the final against Yugoslavia that saw Italy win the European title. Two years later, at the Mexico World Cup, he showed his strength once again with a brace in the quarter-finals and a goal in the “Game of the Century '' against West Germany that saw Italy through to the final where they then lost to Brazil.

Love for the Azzurri saw him accept the role of Accompanying Director of the National team in the 90s, before being the Team Manager: he participated in 6 World Cups including the 2006 win and 5 Euros, becoming a fundamental part of the dressing room and an important cornerstone for many players. In 2011 he became part of the ‘Italian Football Hall of Fame’.

In remembrance, a minute's silence will be held before every league game from tomorrow until the end of the week.

FIGC President, Gabriele Gravina, spoke: “I am shaken and grieved, Italian football is in mourning because a true national icon has left us. Gigi Riva embodied the idea of a free man and extraordinary footballer: his pride, his class, and his sense of justice united generations and roused the passion of millions of people. ‘Roar of Thunder’, his extraordinary career as an athlete and then staff member is interwoven with the Azzurri, thanks to him we won the 1968 Euros and the 2006 World Cup. Those who had, like me, the fortune to know him, have lost a friend and an icon today”.