Leonardo Mussini, the boy who colored the Zebras

Positive, proactive, available: the death at 41 of the media and marketing manager of the franchise shakes the Italian oval world and deprives it of a great resource. The blue trocar Bellini: “Everything we have here is thanks to you”

It was for everyone Leo. And everyone, now, thinks about his voice and feels his absence, in Parma as elsewhere. The death of Leonardo Mussini, communications and marketing manager of the Zebras who died on Wednesday at the Sant’Orsola hospital in Bologna at the age of 41, has shaken the Italian rugby community. This time you shouldn’t cry a great champion, it was a person who worked behind the spotlight who left. But how he worked, and how much. “Everything we have here at the Zebre, if it is still standing, is thanks to you, thanks to your unconditional passion” wrote Mattia Bellini in one of the thousands of messages that rugby people are dedicating to him. The blue winger only partially exaggerates: Mussini was really a glue, an automatic generator of enthusiasm and initiative, a born optimist. He had the right character for an awkward job: to bring the public closer to a team that is not deeply rooted and that wins little, to highlight its energies, to make it familiar. He was succeeding. If the Zebras today are a family that gathers over 100 clubs, if they are involved in a thousand social initiatives, if they have made inclusivity their flag, the merit is yours.

The disease and the character

Leonardo was conquered by a rare autoimmune lung disease that struck him more than a year ago and that had nothing to do with Covid. For months the doctors had been looking for a cure, a way to help him breathe, without understanding it. He was scheduled to be scheduled for a transplant, but his health conditions over the past month have not allowed it. Those who know him say that Leonardo recently understood what his fate would be, but he tried to keep it hidden as much as possible, so as not to worry and suffer the people he had close to. This was one of the traits of his character, thinking of others first than of himself. Another was the unconditional love for life, for everything beautiful it can give you. He was passionate about music and vinyls – he was the soul of the Vinylistic association -, he loved the mountains, his family, his Elisa.


Leo had approached rugby in 2008 through Gran Parma. He had also been close to the Aironi, Colorno and Zebre, as well as being involved in the organization of major events organized in the area under the aegis of Fir and World Rugby. Players, coaches, press officers of half of Europe’s teams, fans. Everyone has a memory of him to share. From Parma Calcio to United Rugby Championship CEO Martin Anayi (“He loved rugby, the Zebras and our league, he was one of the great figures in our sport and we will miss him so much”), from the tournament clubs (Leinster, Glasgow , Cardiff) to the journalists of the main British newspapers, the social networks were filled with memories of Leo. And then the blues of yesterday and today, from Carlo Festuccia to Marco Bortolami, from Ian McKinley to Giovanbattista Venditti.

The greeting

After the funeral home scheduled for Friday, Leonardo Mussini’s funeral will be held on Saturday at 9.30 in the church of Malandriano. From 11 to 12.30 the doors of the “Lanfranchi” of Parma will open to all those who want to remember him. At 18.15, before Zebre-Ulster, a minute of silence will be observed. Two Zebras jerseys were made, with the words “Leo” and the number 1. One will go to the family, the other will hang in the offices of the Citadel. Hi Leo.

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Leonardo Mussini, the boy who colored the Zebras

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