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Italian football mourns Luigi Riva

Sur l'UEFA Membres

Italy's all-time leading goalscorer and 1968 UEFA European Championship winner Luigi 'Gigi' Riva passed away on Monday in Cagliari, aged 79.

Italian football is in mourning for Luigi 'Gigi' Riva, who passed away on Monday in Cagliari at the age of 79.

Nicknamed "Rombo di Tuono" (Roar of Thunder) for his physical strength, heading ability and powerful left-footed shot, Riva won 42 caps between 1965 and 1974, recording 35 goals – still Italy's all-time scoring record.

He played a pivotal role in two of the Azzurri's most memorable tournament appearances, returning from a broken leg to score the opener in the replay of the 1968 UEFA European Championship final against Yugoslavia in Rome, where a 2-0 victory made Italy European champions for the first time. He was also part of the team that reached the 1970 FIFA World Cup final in Mexico, losing to Brazil after an iconic 4-3 win against West Germany in the semi-finals in which Riva scored Italy's third goal.

Riva famously spent his entire Serie A career with Cagliari, leading them to a stunning Scudetto triumph in the 1969/70 season. In total he notched up 208 goals in 378 games for the Sardinian club.

After retiring in 1976, he served briefly as Cagliari president during the 1986/87 season, before working with the Italian national team in various roles from 1988 until 2013.

Many legends of Italian football were quick to pay tribute to Riva's memory.

"As a player he was the greatest Italian striker in history and one of the best in the world," said former Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi. "When I worked with him in the national team, I met a man even greater than the footballer, an extraordinary person. He gave his life for football. We must all be grateful."

Former national team colleague Dino Zoff added: "I am losing a great friend, we have travelled a long life together. An infinite sadness. He was an exquisite, strong person."

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has announced a minute of silence ahead of all domestic matches from today until the weekend.