Italy’s record goalscorer Luigi ‘Gigi’ Riva dies aged 79

On Monday, Italian football mourned the death of renowned striker Luigi “Gigi” Riva.

Riva, nicknamed “Roar of Thunder,” is Italy’s all-time leading goal scorer and is well-known in the Mediterranean nation for leading Cagliari to their only league title in 1970.

Cagliari wrote “Forever GIGI RIVA”  in a short post on X, formerly Twitter, accompanied by a photo of their idol at the peak of his career.

“Italian football is in mourning because a genuine national monument has left us today,” stated Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina.

Riva’s passing was so significant that the Italian Super Cup final, which was played in Riyadh on Monday, held a minute of silence before the second half began. “Ciao Gigi”  was displayed on screens at Al-Awwal Park in Saudi Arabia’s capital, next to a photo of the deceased Riva.

“He will always be remembered for his play with ‘his’ Cagliari and the national team,” said Serie A in a short statement.

Riva had suffered a heart attack over the weekend and was admitted to the hospital in the capital city of Sardinia, Cagliari, where he had been staying since the end of his playing career.

In just 42 games, Riva scored 35 goals for his nation, which helped them win the 1968 European Championship and reached the World Cup final two years later.

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