Luigi Riva- Italy’s record goalscorer dies aged 79

Italy’s record goalscorer and former Cagliari forward Luigi Riva has died at the age of 79.

Riva had been in hospital in Sardinia’s capital after reportedly suffering a heart attack over the weekend.

Nicknamed ‘Roar of Thunder’, Riva scored 35 goals in 42 appearances for the Azzurri, with whom he won the 1968 European Championship and reached the World Cup final two years later.

He also helped Cagliari to their only Serie A title in 1970.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Cagliari wrote,”Forever GIGI RIVA.”

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina said: “Italian soccer is grieving because a real and proper national hero has left us. Gigi Riva was the embodiment of a great man and an extraordinary footballer.”

The FIGC has put plans in place for matches across Italy to hold a pre-match minute’s reflection in honour of Riva for the rest of this week.

News of his death was also marked by a minute’s silence before the start of the second half of the Italian Super Cup final between Napoli and Inter Milan on Monday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Riva’s Italy career was hampered by two serious injuries, including a broken leg in 1970 which dented Cagliari’s bid for a second straight league title.

He played almost his entire club career with Cagliari, signing for them in 1963 and retiring in 1976 after topping the Serie A charts three times, netting 207 times for the Islanders and was runner-up for the 1969 Ballon d’Or.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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