Italy All-Time Top Scorer and Cagliari Legend Gigi Riva Dies

The greatest goal-scorer in the history of the Azzurri is dead. Luigi Riva, better known as Rombo di Tuono (“Roar of Thunder”) or simply as Gigi, passed away on Monday night in Cagliari, aged 79, due to complications of a stroke he suffered last Saturday.

Riva died in the city that he loved and where he spent his whole career as a footballer (1963-1976) save from one initial season at Legnano. Riva was born in the North of Italy, but moved to play for Cagliari in Sardinia and led the Islanders to an incredible Scudetto in the 1969/70 season – the first time that the title was won by a club from the South of the country.

With 35 goals scored out of 42 caps, Riva is also the all-time top scorer for Italy. With the Azzurri, he won the 1968 European Championship, scoring the first goal in the re-match of the Final against Yugoslavia. He also came second at the 1970 World Cup and wrote his name in the scoresheet of the legendary Semi Final against West Germany, netting the Azzurri‘s third goal.

After retiring, he lived in Cagliari and served as Team Manager for Italy from 1990 to 2013.

Riva was hospitalized on Saturday after suffering a heart attack but the situation seemed stable until this afternoon. Then, his conditions suddenly worsened and his passing was confirmed at 8.00 PM.

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