“Pablito, today the Brazilians suffer like the Italians,” Zico told La Stampa.
“Maradona was the best of my time, Paolo the soul of the national team who eliminated us from the World Cup. It seems incredible that in two weeks we lost both of them.
“His class exploded right in front of us, but he never bragged about having beaten us. He was aware of what that defeat meant for us.
“His travels to Brazil helped him understand our people, he never wanted to rage.
“The news was a cold shower for me, the good memories of the moments lived together remain.”
Rossi and Zico faced each other in the 1982 World Cup second phase match between Italy and Brazil, which the Azzurri won 3-2 thanks to a “Pablito” hat-trick before going on to win the tournament.