Highs and lows

Highs and lows

INAUSPICIOUS START

Rossi made his debut with Juventus in 1973 but the early years of his career were compromised by injury, needing three knee surgeries.

He was farmed out to Como, where he made his Serie A debut, and then loaned to Serie B side Vicenza for the 1976-77 season, moving from the wing to a central striking position.

It proved a momentous switch as Rossi was Serie B’s top scorer that year, firing Vicenza to promotion, and he led the Serie A scoring charts the following season, earning a call-up to Enzo Bearzot’s Italy squad for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

Rossi shone in the tournament, scoring three goals as the Italians finished fourth.

TOTONERO SCANDAL

Despite his World Cup heroics, Rossi again struggled with injuries in the following season and Vicenza were relegated.

They were forced to loan their star player to Serie A side Perugia, where he became embroiled in the “Totonero” match-fixing scandal.

He was banned for three years, later reduced to two, but Rossi has always protested his innocence. The ban ruled Rossi out of the 1980 Euro, where hosts Italy finished fourth, but Juve returned for their former player, who came back in time for the tail-end of their 1981-82 Serie A title-winning campaign, earning a spot in Italy’s 1982 World Cup squad.

HEYSEL TRAGEDY

After his heroics at the 1982 World Cup, Rossi enjoyed his most prolific spell with Juve, where he formed a formidable partnership with Michel Platini and Zbigniew Boniek.

Juve won the 1983 Coppa Italia, and a year later, the treble of the Serie A title, Cup Winners’ Cup and the Uefa Super Cup. Rossi was also top scorer with six goals as the team reached the 1983 European Cup final, where they lost to Hamburg.

But his final game for Juventus was marked by tragedy. At the 1985 European Cup final, where Juve beat Liverpool, 39 fans died in a stampede and wall collapse following crowd disturbances in the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE