Andrea Pirlo revealed Juventus were "feeling the fear" from their heavy defeat to Fiorentina before the mid-season break in the early stages of their 4-1 win over Udinese on Sunday. 

Juve suffered a humiliating 3-0 home loss to La Viola in December – their first in the league this season – but the champions bounced back to winning ways in style at the Allianz Stadium. 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored either side of Federico Chiesa's cool finish – the 15th consecutive season the Portugal star has scored 20 goals for club and country – before Udinese's Marvin Zeegelaar and Paulo Dybala exchanged goals in the closing stages. 

The result ensured Juve avoided going three consecutive home games without a win for the first time since 2015-16, and Pirlo conceded the defeat to Fiorentina last time out was on his players' minds early on.

"It wasn't the best Juventus, as we were coming off a bad defeat to Fiorentina, so started quite timid and nervous, especially when their forwards ran towards us. We gained more confidence as it went on," Pirlo told DAZN.

"I was not satisfied with the initial approach to the game, as we were still feeling the fear of our last defeat to Fiorentina. The timing of the movements weren't right, especially on the wings.

"We knew that Udinese would try to sit back, counter and wait for our mistakes, but we did well with the preventative marking to ensure they couldn't do that."

Dybala's late goal was just his second in Serie A this season and came after a game in which he lost possession 21 times – seven more than any other Juve player.

Despite his wastefulness with the ball, Pirlo was pleased with the Argentina international's contribution and believes his goal was the result of the forward's improved fitness. 

"We need Dybala, he needs us," the Juve boss added. "He worked very well during the week in training. We could tell during the match that he was in better physical condition and we kept him on to the end because we hoped he would score that goal."

The result could have been different had Rodrigo De Paul's 10th-minute strike not been ruled out following a VAR check for a handball earlier in the move. 

And Rodrigo Bentancur, who laid on Ronaldo's second, acknowledged Juve need to start games with more of a spring in their step, starting with their visit to leaders Milan on Wednesday. 

"We didn't start with the right mentality and conceded that goal, which fortunately was disallowed for handball," Bentancur said. 

"We did better after the break, deserved the victory, but again the mentality dropped at the end to concede that goal.

"I think we need to keep that concentration throughout the 90 minutes. We allowed Udinese too many chances and that should not happen.

"I don't mind if I score goals or not. I provided an assist tonight and that's as good as a goal, because I am helping the team.

"This was a victory we wanted and fought hard for. Now we have a couple of days to rest and prepare for Milan."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Juventus bounced back from their Fiorentina fiasco with a 4-1 win over Udinese at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday. 

Andrea Pirlo's side suffered a humiliating 3-0 home defeat to La Viola before the mid-season break, but they kicked off 2021 with a win that ensured the gap to Serie A leaders Milan remained at 10 points. 

Ronaldo put Juve ahead in the 31st minute with a fine strike after Udinese's Rodrigo de Paul had seen an effort ruled out by VAR. 

Federico Chiesa and Ronaldo then made sure Juve avoided going three consecutive home games without a win for the first time since 2015-16.

Marvin Zeegelaar snatched a consolation for Udinese, but Paulo Dybala had the final say in stoppage time.


Andrea Pirlo has been encouraged by the attitude of his Juventus players since their return to training after a home humbling at the hands of Fiorentina brought an awful end to 2020.

Rookie coach Pirlo had been unbeaten in Serie A heading into the final match of last year, with only Juve and leaders Milan yet to taste defeat across Europe's 'top five' leagues at that point.

But the Bianconeri lost that record after they went down 3-0 in Turin following Juan Cuadrado's early red card, just their second home league loss to Fiorentina in 30 years.

A short mid-season break gave the sixth-placed defending champions time to stew on that painful result, which followed a 1-1 draw with Atalanta in their previous home match.

Not since early in the 2015-16 season have Juve gone three home games without a win, however, and Pirlo's men are determined to bounce back when they host Udinese on Sunday.

"I found the players well after a period of vacation," Pirlo told Juventus TV. "On Monday, I found a team eager to restart after the last bad performance.

"We have almost all the players back, so we now look to make a good recovery in the league.

"We talked about the match against Fiorentina, which was completely wrong in terms of attitude and everything; we couldn't end 2020 like this.

"There was a nice meeting where we talked and discussed future goals, so it was also productive."

Although Juve are 10 points off the pace with a game in hand, having drawn six times in 13 matches, Pirlo saw "good progress" in the first part of the campaign.

The Bianconeri won the Scudetto in 2001-02 when they were last held as many as six times through 13 rounds and a similar late-season improvement is anticipated this term.

"I would not like to see more matches like the one with Fiorentina," Pirlo added. "But for the rest, we made a good progress, improving on many aspects.

"I am convinced that we can do even better, because we have everything to be able to do much better."

Andrea Pirlo should have kept quiet rather than wade in on Napoli's successful appeal against their 3-0 forfeit defeat to Juventus and one-point penalty, according to Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli did not turn up for their game in Turin in October and were also docked a point by Serie A after arguing they were banned from travelling by local health authorities as Piotr Zielinski, Eljif Elmas and a member of staff had tested positive for COVID-19.

Juventus also reported two positive cases among staff a day before the game but made clear they intended to play the match at the Allianz Stadium.

Pirlo named a starting XI but the game did not go ahead due to Napoli's absence and was officially abandoned, but the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) ruled the Partenopei had ignored the coronavirus protocols in place, which state a team must fulfil an fixture if they have 13 available players, including a goalkeeper.

Napoli refused to drop the matter and took the case to the Italian National Olympic Committee's (CONI) Collegio di Garanzia dello Sport – the highest sports authority in the country – and it ruled in the club's favour on Tuesday, with the rescheduled game set to take place in 2021.

Pirlo appeared to take a swipe at the ruling this week, saying: "I'm sorry for the other teams who have travelled and lost points without saying anything, leaving and playing without those who had COVID-19. I'm more sorry for them than for us."

Napoli president De Laurentiis was not impressed with Pirlo's remarks and said he should stick to coaching instead of commenting on matters of law.

"Pirlo is not a lawyer by trade, he does not know certain procedures and does not know what has happened in terms of protocols," De Laurentiis told Radio Capital.

"Pirlo should be a coach and that's it, leave certain answers to his club representatives."

Andrea Pirlo refused to blame Juan Cuadrado's dismissal for Juventus' heavy home loss to Fiorentina and instead questioned the attitude of his players heading into the match.

Juve suffered their first Serie A defeat under Pirlo in his 13th league match in charge, going down 3-0 in what was also their heaviest loss since moving to the Allianz Stadium in 2011.

Cuadrado caught Gaetano Castrovilli on the shin and was issued a red card on his 200th appearance for the Turin giants – upgraded from a yellow following a VAR check – with only 18 minutes on the clock.

Dusan Vlahovic had given Fiorentina an early lead by that point and Juve could not respond, conceding again through Alex Sandro's own goal and Martin Caceres' tap-in.

Juve had a couple of penalty appeals turned down in Tuesday's match, their last of 2020, but Pirlo conceded his team simply failed to turn up.

"What happened with the red card cannot be used as an alibi," he told Sky Sport Italia. "The result was not down to Fiorentina's attitude but the lack of ours.

"When this is the case you face bad situations like this. In games before Christmas it can happen then you have your mind on the holidays. We were unfocused and could not recover.

"The images for the sending off seem clear to me. There could have been some decisions in our favour, but that's not something I want to comment on – you can see for yourself.

Juve had more possession than Fiorentina (54 per cent) and more shots (13 to 10) yet ultimately saw a 13-game unbeaten run come to a shuddering halt. 

Leonardo Bonucci in particular struggled – the experienced defender arguably at fault for all three of the opposition goals.

He lost possession six times in all and won only half of his 10 duels, but Pirlo stood by his skipper at full-time.

"Bad evenings like these happen to everyone," he said. "Up until this point he has made some great performances.

"It happens to everyone. He is our captain and we still have great faith in him."

Juve suffered a double title blow of sorts on Tuesday, this defeat to Fiorentina coming hours after Napoli won their appeal against October's abandoned fixture between the sides.

The Bianconeri had been awarded a 3-0 forfeit win after Napoli failed to turn up due to a travel ban put in place by local authorities after Piotr Zielinski, Eljif Elmas and a member of staff had tested positive for COVID-19.

But the Italian National Olympic Committee's Collegio di Garanzia dello Sport – the highest sports authority in the country – ruled in the Napoli's favour, meaning the game must be replayed in early 2021.

Juve are therefore three points worse off, now seven adrift of leaders Milan, and Pirlo questioned the fairness of the decision.

"We don't mind playing the game again. I'm more disappointed for the other teams that have travelled and played without far more players who had COVID," he said. "They showed great fairness by playing anyway.

"I won't say if the ruling was correct or not, but it didn't seem fair to the other teams who carried on and played in more difficult situations."

Andrea Pirlo expects to have Paulo Dybala available again as Juventus bring the curtain down on 2020 at home to Fiorentina on Tuesday.

Dybala, who has been the subject of transfer speculation amid tricky contract negotiations, missed Saturday's big 4-0 win at Parma due to a thigh injury.

The Argentina international has started only five games in Serie A this term, making eight appearances in the competition in total.

His production when on the pitch has also been underwhelming, with one goal from 23 shots while failing to register an assist despite creating 14 chances.

But Pirlo talked up the forward's talents at the weekend and was optimistic he would return against Fiorentina, with encouraging news following on Monday.

"Someone is better: Paulo trained a bit with the team today," Pirlo told Juventus TV. "He is better and I think he can come with us for the match tomorrow.

"[Merih] Demiral is better, too, but Arthur is not available, because he still feels pain where he took the blow against Atalanta."

Juve are one of only two teams in Europe's 'top five' leagues without defeat this season, although they trail Serie A leaders Milan - the other unbeaten side - by four points having drawn six times.

The Bianconeri have not registered back-to-back clean sheets since June - drawing 1-1 with Atalanta before the Parma game - and Pirlo wants to see a more consistent level of performance.

"We are growing rapidly, but it is important to have consistency in the games and the victories," he said. "Only with this can you go on and improve.

"We are doing well and we are improving game after game, but we still have great room for improvement."

Opponents Fiorentina are winless in eight in Serie A, but Pirlo considers the strugglers "a very good team" with "a great class player" in Franck Ribery.

The Juve coach is also familiar with his opposite number, having played under Cesare Prandelli - appointed in November and still waiting on a first victory - with the Italy national team.

"I had a lot of good times with him," Pirlo said. "We had a great European Championship [in 2012], losing the final against Spain.

"He is a kind-hearted person who I had the pleasure of working with for several years, including a World Cup, a Confederations Cup.

"So, I see him again with great pleasure and he deserves something more on the pitch right now."

Pirlo added: "We will have to be careful because it is the last game of 2020 and we need to finish in the best way."

Juve are the side against which Fiorentina have lost the most games (78) and conceded the most goals (266) in Serie A.

Andrea Pirlo insisted Paulo Dybala was important to him amid continued speculation about the Juventus playmaker's future.

Dybala, 27, is again linked with a move away from the Serie A champions despite expectations he would extend his stay at Juve, where he is contracted until 2022.

The Argentina international, who has been linked to Manchester United, missed Saturday's 4-0 win over Parma due to a thigh injury.

Asked if Dybala was important to him, Juve coach Pirlo told reporters: "Absolutely. Champions like him are always fundamental in strong teams."

Pirlo is hopeful Dybala may return as soon as Tuesday, when Juventus host Fiorentina.

"I train all the players. Dybala is one of them. He behaviour is great," he said.

"Unfortunately, he's got this little injury, and yesterday he tried to force it, but he was worried he would hurt himself even more. We hope to have him back on Tuesday."

Juve are third in the Serie A table, a point behind leaders Milan, who visit Sassuolo on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo showed "how much he cares" about scoring as he became the first Serie A player since 1961 to reach 33 Serie A goals in a calendar year.

That was the verdict of head coach Andrea Pirlo after Ronaldo netted twice in Saturday's 4-0 win at Parma, a game bookended by goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Alvaro Morata.

Ronaldo's supporting cast impressed, but there was no doubting the star of the show, the Portuguese leaping impressively to head his first before striking early in the second half to kill off the game.

The game came three days on from Ronaldo missing a penalty in Juve's frustrating 1-1 draw with Atalanta.

Pirlo was impressed by Ronaldo's appetite for the occasion, and the eagerness of the 35-year-old to make up for that spot-kick failure.

"Ronaldo was angry for having missed the penalty, but we had a few days to think about it and he showed how much he cares about scoring goals, even better when during open play," Pirlo said, quoted on the Juventus website.

"We weren't happy with Wednesday's result, but the performance was good. We had to get back the points we lost against Atalanta and we did it in the best way.

"We needed a team win and to score and we did it while playing good football. We are in a good moment, I like how we attack the opponents when they have the ball, we are growing, the right spirit is here, but we are only at the beginning and we will have to have this attitude in every match."

Omar Sivori was the last Serie A player to hit 33 goals in a year, doing so midway through an eight-year stay at Juventus.

Ronaldo could still improve on his own 2020 haul, with Juventus facing Fiorentina on Tuesday in their final game before a short break.

His 33 goals have come from just 28 appearances, with 27 scored with his right foot, four with his left foot and two with his head.

Thirteen of those goals have been penalties, with Ronaldo taking 15 spot-kicks in Serie A since the year began.

Just two of the goals have been scored from outside the penalty area, with Ronaldo firmly established as a predator inside the 18-yard box, while nobody has hit the woodwork in Serie A more often than him this year – the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star being one of six players to do so six times.

The double made him this season's outright top scorer so far with 12 goals, two ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku, whose heroics are driving the challenges of Milan and Inter respectively.

Gianluigi Buffon, who began his professional career with Parma in the mid-1990s, kept a clean sheet for Juventus against his old club.

The 42-year-old goalkeeper has experienced the ups and downs of life at Juventus in almost 20 years with the Bianconeri, across two spells.

And former Italy number one Buffon says it will take a string of stirring displays to be sure rookie coach Pirlo has stamped his mark on the team, who remain unbeaten through 13 rounds of Serie A games.

"Now it will be important for us to put together many convincing performances, showing off a good game, and then we can say that we are Andrea Pirlo's team," Buffon said.

"We will have some highs and lows – as is normal – but when we have the highs, we are good and beautiful to look at."

Andrea Pirlo acknowledged Juventus are a still "a bit angry" after failing to beat Atalanta, but their physical well-being is encouraging ahead of Saturday's clash with Parma.

The Bianconeri played out a frustrating draw in their midweek contest after Federico Chiesa's opener was cancelled out by Remo Freuler at Allianz Stadium.

Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty and Alvaro Morata was guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance as Juve remained four points adrift of leaders Milan in Serie A.

Speaking to Juve's official website, head coach Pirlo said: "We are a bit angry because we played a good match against a great team.

"There's regret for not having taken the many opportunities created and that we didn't manage to take home the three points."

The draw ended a run of four straight wins in all competitions but Juve stretched their unbeaten run to 11 matches.

The fixture against Parma is the sixth of seven games in December for Juve and their penultimate before the mid-season break.

Despite the hectic schedule, Pirlo is encouraged by the physical status of his squad.

"We are physically well and we proved it the other night against Atalanta," he added. "We played more or less at the same level and, in fact, at times we were even superior physically.

"I don't worry about this aspect, but when you play every three days, you must recover quickly."

Parma have gone four games unbeaten in Serie A and only a last-gasp equaliser denied them victory against Milan last weekend.

Pirlo is expecting a tough encounter against Fabio Liverani's men.

"[I expect] a classic game where they will try to defend themselves and counter," Pirlo said. "They have very fast players in the transitions, like Gervinho and [Yann] Karamoh.

"You have to be very careful when you are in possession of the ball and then develop the game well."

Andrea Pirlo gave Cristiano Ronaldo his backing after the Juventus superstar spurned a chance to earn the Serie A champions a valuable win from the penalty spot against Atalanta.

Ronaldo saw his 61st-minute spot-kick smothered by Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini in Wednesday's 1-1 draw as Juve missed the opportunity to make up ground on unbeaten Serie A leaders Milan.

Federico Chiesa had fired Juve into a 29th-minute lead only to see his stunning long-range effort cancelled out by Remo Freuler's powerful strike to pull the visitors level approaching the hour-mark.

When Chiesa was brought down by Hans Hateboer four minutes later, five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo stepped up from 12 yards and slotted the ball into a diving Gollini's arms.

Ronaldo has now failed to convert four of the 30 penalties he has taken for the Bianconeri, but Juve legend and head coach Pirlo did not hesitate to praise his forward's contribution. 

"It was not an easy game but he did well," Pirlo told reporters post-match.

"If he scored his penalty some judgments would have changed. 

"He did what he had to, maybe not brilliant as usual but he is a champion and champions miss penalties too."

Andrea Pirlo admitted Alvaro Morata's glaring miss in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Atalanta made him "very angry" but the Juventus boss praised the forward for an otherwise "great game".

Juve were denied a fifth consecutive win in all competitions when Remo Freuler cancelled out Federico Chiesa's opener at the Allianz Stadium.

Cristiano Ronaldo squandered a golden opportunity to seal all three points for the champions, though, missing from the spot after Chiesa had been tripped in the area – his fourth failure from 30 penalties in all competitions for Juve. 

While Pirlo was relaxed about the Portuguese superstar's miss, he could not hide his frustration at Morata's indiscretion early in the first half. 

The Spain international, who has scored nine goals in all competitions this season, inexplicably scuffed a backheeled effort wide with the goal at his mercy after initially playing a poor pass to Ronaldo when he had been clean through.

On Ronaldo's miss, he told a media conference: "It's a pity because it would have helped us to go ahead, but these things can happen.

"Morata's miss made me very angry, it's something we cannot afford. These opportunities can channel the game in a certain way.

"One must have the lucidity to make the right choice and he didn't. Aside from that he played a great game. It happens that goals are not scored sometimes."

Juve came up against a goalkeeper in inspired form, Pierluigi Gollini saving Ronaldo's spot-kick and making excellent stops to deny Morata and Weston McKennie.

The result means they have drawn six of their first 12 league games of the season for the first time since 1984-85, when they finished in sixth.

Pirlo was pleased with his side's attitude, but said they need to show more conviction if they are to start turning draws into wins.

"We played an excellent match against a strong team, with great pace," he added.

"However, we would have won if we had shown more conviction. We created a lot, but we have not been able to close it out and when we leave the game in the balance, anything can happen.

"But we took the field with the right attitude. It was an important game in terms of intensity. Atalanta is difficult to face and we did it well."

The Bianconeri will hope to return to winning ways when they visit Parma on Saturday.

Andrea Pirlo acknowledges Juventus are facing a "strange" season in Serie A but believes the impact of coronavirus on the schedule has restored balance across European football.

Italian champions Juve are fourth in the table after 11 matches, four points off leaders Milan, but they are not the only top side struggling to match the high standards of previous campaigns.

Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain – all reigning champions – are being kept off the top of their respective divisions.

Indeed, each of the leaders in Europe's top five leagues – Tottenham, Real Sociedad, Bayer Leverkusen, Milan and Lille – are playing in the Europa League in 2020-21, rather than joining Juve in the Champions League.

"It's a strange championship but it's like all the other European championships," Pirlo told Juventus TV.

"With COVID and the matches close together, everything has balanced out a bit and therefore you have to face every game with the right mentality.

"There are no more 'materasso' teams; there are strong teams who think about playing and not just defending themselves.

"You have to face them all with a certain mentality otherwise you risk facing nasty surprises."

Juve's fortunes have improved in recent weeks, however, winning their past four matches in all competitions.

They face Atalanta on Wednesday and could win five consecutive games for the first time since January.

"More than results, it is the attitude and concentration in facing all matches in the same way, both in the Champions League and in the league," Pirlo said.

"When you have the right attitude and the spirit of wanting to play the game, the results are on your side."

Juve are unbeaten in 23 home Serie A games against Atalanta, a run stretching back to 1989, while they are the only side Gian Piero Gasperini has faced more than once in the league without defeating since taking charge in Bergamo.

But Pirlo is wary of the threat of the eighth-place team, who have had 11 different scorers in Serie A this term – more than any other side.

"I expect a difficult match against a very strong team," the Bianconeri coach said. "They have been a reality for several years now. We have seen that not only in the Italian league but also at European level.

"It will be a tough game to play given their attitude. We will have to face it as a top team."

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his 100th Juventus appearance with a brace in Sunday's 3-1 Serie A win over Genoa and he now has sights on reaching a century of goals.

Juve were by no means outstanding at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris and looked to be slumping to a sixth draw in 11 Serie A games this season until the latter stages.

Defensive mistakes led to Juve winning two penalties in the final 12 minutes, and Ronaldo repeated the feat of his spot-kick double against Barcelona in midweek by confidently dispatching another pair in Genoa to take his overall club total to 77 goals.

Not only was Ronaldo making his 100th Juve appearance, he also became the first player to reach 400 wins across Europe's top five leagues this century.

Additionally, Ronaldo reached 31 goals for the calendar year, making him the third Juve player to reach this milestone in the top flight, and the first since Omar Sivori in 1961.

Speaking after the game, Juve superstar Ronaldo told Sky Sport Italia: "It was a difficult match, but I'm happy for the personal achievement.

"In Barcelona we won an important match and after such successes you find confidence. Genoa play defensively and it was difficult to find the result here.

"After the Champions League it is always difficult, we are tired and we had to change things, but the coach told us what we needed and we did it well."

Ronaldo then addressed his personal accomplishment on Twitter, writing: "What better way to celebrate my 100th game for Juventus, than scoring two more goals for the team?

"I'm very proud of reaching this number with the Vecchia Signora jersey, but guess what: I also have my mind already set on the 100 goals for Juve."

Before Ronaldo's penalties, however, it was a moment of inspiration from Paulo Dybala that initially broke Genoa's resistance – the Argentina forward darting in off the right, evading a defender and cleverly finishing into the bottom-right corner.

It was his first Serie A goal of the season and elicited a joyous embrace from coach Andrea Pirlo, who explained the show of emotion.

"[Dybala] deserved it. He had been looking for that performance for several weeks, for himself as well," Pirlo said.

"It's important to go back to scoring and the hug is extended to the whole team that has always supported him."

Andrea Pirlo wants Juventus to move on quickly from their impressive Champions League win at Barcelona, although says the Serie A champions must repeat their Camp Nou performance in the coming weeks.

The standout result of Pirlo's tenure so far saw Juve win 3-0 at Barca on Tuesday to top their group despite previously losing the home match when Cristiano Ronaldo was absent with coronavirus.

Ronaldo netted a pair of penalties and Weston McKennie added a stylish volley as the Bianconeri produced a clinical display.

But European competition is on hold now until the new year, meaning Juve's focus must return to their domestic title defence at Genoa.

Sunday's trip is the first of four matches remaining before the mid-season break and Pirlo's men are six points behind leaders Milan, prompting the coach to discard further reflection of a stunning midweek victory.

"If we still have [Barcelona] in mind, let's forget about it," Pirlo told Juventus TV. "We have to turn the page and have continuity.

"It must not be only this match against Barcelona, ​​we must continue with this desire and pace, because now there is the championship and we must be at our best in these four games.

"These matches [like against Barca] bring great awareness of our improvements, so it can be a big confidence boost for the final matches before the break.

"We must have the same desire, the same concentration, because without this desire we face nasty surprises, so we concentrate to play great matches."

Juve have kept three clean sheets in their past six games in all competitions - conceding three goals - after a run of five matches without one.

But Pirlo believes his side's work going the other way has relieved the pressure on his defence, rather than seeing a vast improvement at the back.

Asked about the defence, the coach replied: "The desire to move forward is growing.

"When you go forward and attack, the opposition also have fewer opportunities to come and play in front [of your defence].

"So we have to be in the opposing half of the field, trying to have offensive pressing, then in the defensive phase, even when we are in our own area, we must be aggressive, not passive. We are growing."

Paolo Rossi has been described as an inspiration and a hero of Italian football following his death at the age of 64.

Striker Rossi played for Juventus, where he won the Serie A title twice and also the European Cup in 1985, as well as representing Milan and Hellas Verona during his career.

However, the former Italy international will be most fondly remembered for his exploits with the national team, particularly during the 1982 World Cup as the Azzurri were crowned champions.

His six-goal haul saw him finish as the leading scorer in Spain, while he also returned home with the Golden Ball after being voted as the best player at the tournament.

Following the announcement of Rossi's death, reportedly after a battle with illness, Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina praised a player who left an indelible mark on the country's footballing history.

"The passing of 'Pablito' is another deeply painful loss, a wound to the heart of all football fans and one which will be difficult to heal," Gravina said in a tribute posted on the FIGC's official website.

"We've lost a friend and an icon of Italian football. In spurring the national team on to success in 1982, he had Italians celebrating in squares across the country, both for him and with him.

"He indelibly tied his name to the Azzurri and, through his style of play, inspired numerous strikers of future generations."

In 48 international appearances, Rossi scored 20 goals. His tally included a famous hat-trick against Brazil in 1982, as well as the opener as Italy triumphed 3-1 over West Germany in the final.

Rossi's feats led to him winning the Ballon d'Or that year, having been selected by coach Enzo Bearzot in Italy's squad despite making just three Serie A appearances for Juventus in the 1981-82 season. Rossi had been banned for his alleged role in the 'Totonero' match-fixing scandal but returned to action in time for the World Cup.

Current Juve boss Andrea Pirlo posted a picture on Twitter of 'Pablito' celebrating with Italy, along with the words: "You will always remain our hero."

Juventus, the reigning Serie A champions, produced an online tribute to their former player, in which they referenced Rossi's ability to score "all types of goals, using his uniquely physical style to his advantage".

Juve also added a description of an "iconic" goal against Manchester United that sealed a place in the Cup Winners' Cup final in 1984, a trophy they went on to lift thanks to victory over Porto.

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