MILAN, February 20: Former Italy and Inter Milan defender Mauro Bellugi died on Saturday aged 71, months after both his legs were amputated following complications with coronavirus.
“Today he leaves us, a great man, a great footballer, a true ‘Interista’. Rest in peace Mauro Bellugi,” Inter Milan wrote on Twitter after Bellugi passed away in Milan.
Doctors were forced to carry out the double amputation in November when a pre-existing condition worsened after the former defender was hospitalised following Covid-19.
“Exactly one year after the first case of Covid in Italy, Mauro Bellugi leaves us,” the president of the Lombardy region Attilio Fontana wrote Saturday on Facebook.
“Scarred by the virus, the national and Inter player tried to react to a complicated health situation with his usual strength and irony. A prayer and a thought for his loved ones.”
Bellugi won the Serie A title with Inter in 1971, and also played for Italy in the World Cups of 1974 and 1978.
“They took off my leg with which I scored against Borussia Moenchengladbach,” said Bellugi at the time of the amputation, speaking about a goal he scored for Inter in the second round of the European Cup in November 1971.
“I will wear prostheses like those of (Oscar) Pistorius.”
Bellugi, who also played for Bologna and Napoli during the 1960s and 1970s, went on to become a football pundit. (AFP)