Italy's final farewell to Gigi Riva

“Dear Gigi, friend of many battles and just as many wounds…“. This is how an open letter to Ansa begins, written by Roberto Baggio in memory of Gigi Riva, On whose shoulder he rested his face in tears after missing the penalty in the 1994 World Cup final against Brazil: the then Italian team manager later commented “I have never forgotten those moments and that hug.”

Life has united us in its journey, which we have experienced with so much love and endless passion for the most beautiful game in the world. You were a unique and valuable example of great humility. For me you were a beautiful example of consistency and loyalty to the shirt, of sincere courage. You loved the country that adopted you like no other. You were able to transform your suffering and pain into positive release. You were a wise and valuable travel companion, you were always yourself on and off the court. You were something unique and unforgettable, just as I am sure that this “roll of thunder” that welcomes you on your heavenly journey will be unique and unforgettable where I hope you will soon meet those you loved and lost too soon. I love you, Roberto Baggio.

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