Sports Nicknames - Pablito, Torero

Paolo Rossi is regarded as one of the greatest football forwards that Italy ever had. His most enterprising, jaw-dropping, and eye-catching performances came at the FIFA World Cup. A spectacular display on the Pitch in the 1982 FIFA World Cup was what made Rossi a world-beater and fetched him some fascinating nicknames. Despite not being very big in terms of stature, he was quick and agile, which made him a key presence on the field. His eye for the goal, complemented by his accurate shots, made him an impactful forward who could turn the game on its head.

Italian legendary footballer - Paolo Rossi - Also known as Pablito and Torero.  Profile drawing.  Illustration.  Avatar art.

Initial Years: Start to the Career

His professional career started with Juventus in 1973, but it was not until 1976 that he played his first professional game. Interestingly, his first few games came with Como Football Club, who loaned him from Juventus. In 1976, Vicenza signed Rossi, and he played with the Club till 1980. He remained the top scorer for Vicenza in Serie B and earned his team a promotion to Serie A. In total, he played 94 games for Vicenza and scored an impressive 60 goals for the Club. Between 1981 and 1985, he was back at Juventus as the period marked spectacular success in the form of 2 Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup, and the European Cup.

The Miracle of 1982:

However, he was a player for the Big Stage and loved the sense of occasion. His most iconic performances came at the World Cup stage in 1982, where he entered as a controversial selection and came out as a world-beater. Earlier, he had played in the 1978 edition of the World Cup, where Italy's run ended in the Semi-finals.

There was a lot of opposition regarding his selection, as he was coming back after a ban and didn't look in good shape either. During the first 3 fixtures, Rossi didn't do much as the critics came down hard after him. But, it was the quarter-final game against the mighty Brazilian team that saw him score the most iconic hat-trick of all time as Italy won 3-2 to make it to the semi-final. In the semi-final, Rossi once again led the way with two goals, as Italy progressed to the final with a 2-0 win over Poland at Camp Nou. Rossi continued his golden run in the 1982 FIFA World Cup final as he scored the first goal for Italy in the 57th minute to give them the advantage. Eventually, Italy went on the win the Final 3-1, and Rossi won the Golden Boot for being the top scorer with 6 goals at the FIFA World Cup 1982 and the Golden Ball for being the player of the tournament. He was only the third player to win all three trophies in a World Cup.

Nicknames for his Goal-scoring Ability:

For his utter demolition of the opposition's defenses' during the World Cup, he was nicknamed "Pablito" and the "Torero," which meant 'bullfighter of supreme quality.' In the same year, he was awarded the Ballon d'Or for his exceptional performances. It indeed was a dream year for the striker. In total, he scored 20 goals in 48 appearances for Italy. He was inducted into the prestigious Italian Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

He retired in 1987, after which he worked as a successful sports analyst and pundit with different media houses. At 64, Rossi died on 9th December 2020, due to lung cancer.


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