10 February 2023 - 26 March 2023 | Zurich, Switzerland

Paolo Rossi, un ragazzo d'oro

“I would like people to picture one thing when they remember me:
the image of me in the Azzurri shirt and with my arms aloft.”

Paolo Rossi

Italy's Golden Boy

A world champion who made Italy dream, the late Paolo Rossi was the hero of Italy’s 1982 FIFA World Cup victory, earning him his place as one of the world’s greats.

His life and career are at the heart of this exhibition, as are the memories of his family, friends and team-mates.

Guest exhibition in collaboration with the Paolo Rossi Foundation

10 February 2023 - 26 March 2023

FIFA Museum, Zurich, Switzerland

Free entry

Paolo Rossi: A Timeline

Rossi’s club career spanned 13 years from 1974 to 1987 during which time he played 340 games and scored 134 goals.

He made his international debut for Italy in December 1977 against Belgium and played 48 times, scoring 20 goals for his country. He played his final game for the Azzurri in May 1986 against China.

© Getty Images

Juventus FC


Rossi made his debut for Juventus in the Coppa Italia on 1st May 1974, playing three games in the competition before being sent out on loan, first to Como and then Vicenza.

© Getty Images

Como Calcio


Rossi played just six times for Como.

© Imago

SS Lanerossi Vicenza


Rossi burst onto the scene at Vicenza, scoring 66 goals in 98 matches in all competitions.

© Getty Images

Perugia Calcio


In a single season with Perugia, Rossi played 36 matches and scored 14 goals before he was banned for two years from all football.

© Imago

Juventus FC


Rossi spent three full seasons with Juventus, winning the Coppa Italia, the Serie A twice, the European Cup Winners’ Cup, the European Cup and the European Super Cup. In 134 appearances he scored 44 goals.

© Imago

AC Milan


At the age of 29 Rossi joined Milan where he spent a season, scoring three times in 26 appearances.

© Getty Images

Hellas Verona FC


A final season with Verona saw Rossi hang up his boots at the age of 30 after scoring seven goals in 27 appearances for the club. His final game was in April 1987 when he came on as a substitute in a 3-0 victory over Napoli.

Paolo Rossi: An Azzurri Legend

“The moment you hear the anthem, the moment you pull on the shirt… it’s extraordinary.
It gives you a great sense of responsibility.”

Paolo Rossi

Azzurri Shirt

Shirt worn by Paolo Rossi for his national team debut versus Belgium on 21 December 1977. © Anna Janson Photography / FIFA Museum
© Anna Janson Photography / FIFA Museum

Rossi made 48 appearances in a ten-year career for the Azzurri, scoring 20 goals – nine of them at the World Cups in 1978 and 1982. He made his international debut against Belgium in the build-up to the 1978 finals in Argentina and won his final cap in May 1986. Although he was part of the Italy squad at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, an injury meant he was an unused substitute.

FIFA World Cup

Boots used by Paolo Rossi in the Italy vs Brazil match at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. © Anna Janson Photography / FIFA Museum
© Anna Janson Photography / FIFA Museum

Rossi scored his first goal for Italy at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. Four years later came one of the most famous games in the history of Italian football – the 3-2 victory over Brazil on 5 July 1982 at the Sarrià Stadium in Barcelona. Having hit a hat-trick to dump red-hot favourites Brazil out of the tournament, Rossi followed that up by scoring both goals in the 2-0 win over Poland in the semi-finals. In the Final at the Bernabéu against West Germany, he scored the opener as Italy claimed the title with a 3-1 victory.

The Golden Year

Golden Shoe awarded to Paolo Rossi at the 1982 FIFA World Cup. © Anna Janson Photography / FIFA Museum
© Anna Janson Photography / FIFA Museum

Paolo Rossi remains the only player to lift the World Cup trophy while winning the Golden Ball for the best player and the Golden Shoe as the top scorer. Moreover, he is one of just two players to score a hat-trick against Brazil at the World Cup. 1982 was his year and the legend lives on.

Paolo Rossi Remembered

© Anna Janson Photography / FIFA Museum
© Anna Janson Photography / FIFA Museum

Rossi always remained open and approachable during and after his career, right through to his death in 2020. Rossi had three children and was married twice: to Simonetta Rizzato and then in 2010 to the journalist and author Federica Cappelletti.

Rossi was a regular on television as a football analyst, while in the last ten years of his life, he and Federica were active in opening academies for young players. After his death, Federica and Rossi’s wider family created the Paolo Rossi Foundation to offer scholarships for young footballers and help cancer patients during their treatment.

Paolo Rossi was a great collector; anything from football shirts and other mementos of his career, to stamps, newspaper articles and much more. In accordance with his will, players past and present were asked to donate an object to the Paolo Rossi Foundation, some of which are shown in the exhibition.