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It is difficult to think the history of an entire island is closely linked to that of a rather gruff Lombard man, born in Leggiuno, on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
Gigi Riva, Rombo di Tuono (Roar of Thunder) for Gianni Brera, arrived in Sardinia with the idea of a layover, that Cagliari was just a launching pad for the stages of the great clubs of the Italian metropolises.
But Sardinia is a land as beautiful as it is hospitable and goal after goal Gigi Riva fell in love with Cagliari and its people, leading the Rossoblu team to the victory of the 1970 championship.
The striker then decided to remain on the island of the four Moors for his entire career, repelling the assaults of the big Milanese and Turinese teams and remaining faithful to the colors of the city, signing for an indissoluble marriage.
Riva is still today the honorary president of the football club.
But to further seal the bond between the champion and the city, there are countless places that remember him: "Via Dante", the Bar Marius in viale Trento where for forty years has been preserved his life-size statue or his favorite restaurant Stella Marina di Montecristo, where he has a reserved table and can still be encountered.
Unfortunately, the Sant'Elia municipal stadium, the scene of most of his carriers of other more recent champions such as the native Gianfranco Zola, was recently demolished and in its proximity now stands the Sardegna Arena, which hosts the home games of the most important Sardinian team.
However, the Amsicora facility where Riva played his first two seasons in the Rossoblu jersey and lifted the only championship in the club's history, is still present.
For aficionados and super football fans Cagliari is therefore a mystical place for the top scorer in the history of the national football team, a Lombard man in love with a magical land like Sardinia.
Cover image: Gigi Riva