The new plant of the city will be named after the man symbol of the rossoblù champions of Italy in 69-70. The mayor: “Gigi is happy about it”
The new stadium in Cagliari will be named after Gigi Riva. The city council said yes: 29 votes in favor and no abstentions. “Riva told me that he is happy to be able to live and savor the title – reports the mayor Paolo Truzzu -, precisely because usually the same title is dedicated to those who are no longer there”. Yes, this is the anomaly, because in Italy it has always been decided to name sports facilities to great champions who have now disappeared: the former central tennis court of the Foro Italico “Nicola Pietrangeli” is an exception.
An infinite phenomenon
In this way Riva continues his parable as an authentic phenomenon: he was when he played, and he is even now that, from a retired champion, he even transforms himself into a stadium. The reason for this decision by the municipality of Cagliari is simple: no one more than Riva has been able to represent the city, probably the whole of Sardinia, becoming a symbol also recognized abroad. Curious that all this happened to a man born in Leggiuno, in the province of Varese. At nineteen, in 1963, he packed his bags and left for the island and fell in love with a pure, sincere love, so deep that he never wanted to leave it again. Everyone tried to detach him from what he always considered a safe haven: Moratti’s and Fraizzoli’s Inter, Agnelli’s Juve, Milan. At each transfer market session, the name on the notebook of Italy’s most powerful presidents was always the same: Gigi Riva. And he, punctually, in agreement with the managers of Cagliari who would have made a fortune by selling him, always answered no. It is in this visceral, almost maternal attachment, not even the island represented the umbilical cord that keeps him clinging to life, that we must read the parable, as strange as it is fascinating, of the character. Cagliari was certainly not a squadron, but he made it one, and thanks to him the Scudetto even arrived in 1970. Who could have imagined a historic event of this magnitude? It would be as if, nowadays, Sassuolo conquered the championship.
Riva was “Rombo di Tuono”, as Gianni Brera called it. He was a left winger who, when his left-hander exploded, unleashed lightning in the sky: pure power, maximum precision, the courage of a lion in acrobatics. Without any doubt the best Italian striker in the period in which he played, i.e. in the second part of the sixties and in the first half of the seventies. His shot was a sentence: a precise diagonal that inexorably sank into the opposite corner, with the goalkeeper stretched out in a useless dive. Riva was essential, surgical. And for all those who loved football it was, above all, the symbol of a diversity: he had rejected big markets, easy money, he had proved to be the strongest while remaining on an island, the last outpost of the utopia that he knew turn into reality. In blue, the 1968 European title and second place in Mexico ’70 are linked to him. With Cagliari he scored 164 goals in 315 games, with Italy he kept an impressive average: 35 goals in 42 games and won a European Championship in 1968. A champion like this doesn’t deserve a stadium, but a cathedral.
March 21, 2023 (change March 21, 2023 | 23:43)
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