He had been hospitalized after falling ill

He had been hospitalized after falling ill

Everyone loved him. For centuries they used to be Guelphs or Ghibellines, from the years of football to Mazzola or Rivera, Bianconeri or Granata, Roma or Lazio, the devilish voice of Callas or the angelic voice of Tebaldi, Lorraine or Lollo, the eagle Coppi or the nose of Albertalli. And not him: Luigi Riva, known as Gigi, from Legiono, province of Varese, deep in Lombardy. You won't believe he wasn't from Sardinia. Gigeriva, died at the age of 79, shot in the heart in his native Cagliari. He, Gigireva, went to that island which, they say, he saw from above for the first time while going to play in Seville with a national youth team and asked what it was and said “I won't live there.” , instead he wanted to live there (and die yesterday) and that blue jersey as a teenager was his true skin that every fan loved.

Consistency and loyalty, everyone loved him

Yes, Cagliari's Serie A title was a miracle as some of the men's achievements were on display, the crowning glory of the “Rumbo di Thunder” as Gianni Brera called him, not quite like the Abbatino Rivera of those years. It was a tournament that everyone admired, because the neighboring enemy had not won it. But the blue shirt, the 35 goals in 42 times are his record, the goals in which he unleashed his power and his anger, his miserable childhood and his new glory, the boy he was who denied some heroes his autograph, who never denied a single thing and then never took a selfie. When tastes and tools changed. And when football changed. Riva was not one of those heroes who chased the dollar in his time and of those who in our time are attracted to black gold as a magpie is attracted to real gold.

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not him. He did not even do, in cinema, that Francis of Assisi that Franco Zeffirelli suggested to him, not like now when you find them in a sitcom, in a series, in a commercial, in a clip. He, “Rombo di Tono”, at most was the hero of Riccardo Milani's documentary, which has heaven in its title and still beats the heart, as Gigi did when the ball was within range of the goal, and what a shot it was! He even broke his legs more than once: some opponents broke them, others saw him collapse on the grass, and we all heard the screams. Just as we all felt “no” he said to Juve, Juve the lawyer, Juve led by Boniperti, “the main race” of those times. However, the boy who left Legiono thin and sad knew how to resist and let his love for football win, for that land of Sardinia that did not belong to him at birth but in which he found himself, shy, silent, so loved. Yet he left for his life that land and those people in which he felt protected and defended, and took refuge there instead, which was accustomed to undermining the defences. happy.

Then, when his body and muscles were badly damaged, he stayed at Cagliari and Cagliari until the relegation (Manlio Scopinho's tenure was long over), and he never remained a stranger to the blue team that made him a hero to everyone, because this was Ballonara's Italy, that is, all of Italy, united. More than even another man from the island, Giuseppe Garibaldi, managed.

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He became coach of Italy, Riva, and they were always world champions, sometimes lost who knows why (the magical nights that enchanted), but sometimes, instead, unforgettable, one for all “The Sky Over Berlin”. Riva always spoke little, though who knew how much he had to say: he opened the opponent's door wide and that was enough, and then the rest was his world. He said that he had spent an evening in Genoa with Fabrizio De Andre, another Sardinian by spirit and choice, and that they had been silent for a long time, perhaps smoking, and then they who knew how to talk without ever stopping. DeAndre gave him a guitar, and Gigi gave him a t-shirt. They gave us both feelings. The rest is numbers, shares, goals and trophies. But emotions do not take this into account. He was left-handed: the good foot was on the heart side.

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