18 May 1980, the Lega Calcio relegates Lazio and Milan to Totonero. 3 years to Paolo Rossi

Eight Serie A clubs, on 18 May 1980, were involved in Totonero. Only Milan and Lazio were relegated to Serie B. During the ninetieth minute, in an iconic episode, the vans of the Guardia di Finanza targeted the Italian stadiums, with some footballers ending up in handcuffs due to the complaint of a restaurant, Trinca, and a trader, Cruciani, who organized the Totonero by rigging the championship. They also got managers, clubs and matches involved between A and B. Some agreements fell through and pushed the two to name names. Also involving some Serie A players.

Among these there is also Paolo Rossi, the Pablito, the hero of the 1982 World Cup. But he was still there to come. At the time he was accused of having agreed to a draw in the Avellino-Perugia match, played on 30 December 1979 and which ended 2-2. The center forward, that season, was a member of the Umbrian club. “I knew nothing about betting. The world collapsed around me. I thought of the classic draw accepted by two teams who don’t want to get hurt. When, after the trial, which seemed increasingly unreal to me, I returned home, I understood that it was all true. It was like living it in a body that wasn’t mine.”

Eighteen players will be disqualified, and among these Enrico Albertosi (4 years), Pino Wilson (3 years), Bruno Giordano and Lionello Manfredonia (3 years and 6 months), Paolo Rossi (2 years), Giuseppe Savoldi (3 years and 6 months), Luciano Zecchini (3 years) and Franco Cordova (1 year and two months); the heaviest sentences were imposed on Stefano Pellegrini (6 years), Massimo Cacciatori and Mauro Della Martira (5 years). Rossi will return for the legendary Sarrìa, called up by Bearzot amidst everyone’s criticism.