Sunday, December 13, 2020

Remembering a Football Icon (and my Shame) #Pablito

It was sad for all football fans to hear the news of the death of Paulo Rossi this week at the young age of 64 from lung cancer. I watched nearly every game of the 1982 World Cup and remember his hat-trick against Brazil like it was yesterday. A World Cup winner is a rare commodity, and Rossi was definitely a zero to hero icon.

Unlike my other football heros such as Alan Kelly, Pelé, George Best, Maradona, and Messi - I did actually get to see him play in the flesh on the night of the 5th of February 1985 in Dalymount Park. The World Champions were in town to play Ireland and I had a ticket for the match. Unfortunately, the FAI only issued tickets for one section of the ground, and 40,000 fans showed up. I remember the massive queues at the turnstiles, and virtually no stewarding at the match. My ticket told me to go to the North Circular Gate, but there were hundreds of non-ticket holders there as well - the Gardaí opened the gate and we all spilled in. It was very crowded inside, but despite the mayhem - I got to see all the action.

The first goal in Italy's 2-1 win was scored from the penalty spot by Paulo Rossi. Despite it being a clear penalty (Lawrenson foul on Altobelli), Rossi was booed as he lined up the spot kick. While booing a penalty taker is not a surprise, afterwards the crowd chanted "Paulo Rossi, you're a w***er" several times over. To my shame, I joined in. 

Perdonami Pablito.

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