Gigi Riva

Luigi "Gigi" Riva (Italian: [luˈiːdʒi ˈriːva]; born 7 November 1944) is an Italian former professional footballer who played as a centre-forward.

Gigi Riva
Riva with Italy in 1968
Personal information
Full name Luigi Riva[1]
Date of birth (1944-11-07) 7 November 1944 (age 76)
Place of birth Leggiuno, Italy
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[2]
Position(s) Centre-forward
Youth career
1961–1962 Laveno Mombello
1962 Legnano
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1962–1963 Legnano 23 (6)
1963–1976 Cagliari 315 (164)
Total 338 (170)
National team
1965–1974 Italy 42 (35)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Considered to be one of the best players of his generation, as well as one of the greatest strikers of all time,[3][4][5][6] Riva enjoyed a remarkable scoring record for Cagliari, thanks to his composure in front of goal, powerful left foot and aerial ability; his speed, strength and eye for goal led the Italian journalist Gianni Brera to nickname him "Rombo di Tuono" (Roar of Thunder).[4][5] Aside from his debut season with Legnano, Riva remained with the Sardinian club for his entire career: he helped Cagliari achieve promotion to the Italian top-flight for the first time in 1964, and later led the club to their only Serie A title in 1969–70.[4][7]

At international level, Riva won the 1968 UEFA European Championship and was runner-up at the 1970 FIFA World Cup with the Italian national team; he also took part at the 1974 FIFA World Cup. With 35 goals in 42 appearances (in all official competitions) between 1965 and 1974, he is Italy's all-time leading goalscorer.[4]

After retiring in 1976, Riva briefly served as the president of Cagliari during the 1986–87 season,[8] and was later the team manager and director of the Italian national team from 1988 until 2013.[9][10]