25 Şubat 2008 Pazartesi

Gabriel Batistuta

Gabriel Omar Batistuta (born 1 February, 1969 in
Reconquista, Santa Fe Province of Argentina) is a
world-famous ex-football (soccer)|footballer. He
played most of his club football at ACF
Fiorentina|Fiorentina. He is also the highest
scorer of Argentina national football
team|Argentina's national team.

==The Man==

Batistuta was born on 1 February, 1969 to
slaughterhouse worker Omar Batistuta and school
secretary Gloria Batistuta in the town of
Avellaneda, Santa Fe Province, Argentina, but grew
up in the near city of Reconquista. After him, his
parents Omar and Gloria Batistuta had three girls
named Elisa, Alejandra and Gabriela.

At the age of 16 he met the love of his life on
her 15th birthday (which is pompously celebrated
in Argentina). It is said that Irina Fernandez
completely ignored him at the beginning, but some
5 years later, on the 28th of December, 1990,
Irina and Gabriel were married at the Saint Roque
Church. The couple moved to Florence in 1991, and
a year later their son Thiago was born.

Thanks to good performances in the Italian
championship and with the Argentinean National
Team, he gained fame and respect. He participated
in several commercials, and was invited to
numerous TV shows. In spite of this, Batistuta
always remained a low-profile family person. A
hero in Florence, the city erected a life-size
bronze statue with his figure in recognition of
his 100 matches with Fiorentina.

In 1996, during Fiorentina's 2-1 victory at A.C.
Milan, he celebrated scoring the match's decisive
goal by saying Te amo, Irina ('I love you, Irina')
to the cameras. The mix of sex appeal with
faithful lover cemented Batistuta's reputation
among Italian women.

In 1997 Batistuta's second son, Lucas, was born,
and a third son, Joaquín, followed in 1999. In
2000 the Batistuta family moved to Rome and two
years later to Milan, following Gabriel's changes
of team. In 2002, after more than 10 years in
Italy, the family moved to Qatar. A fourth son,
Shamel, was born in 2003.

==The Player==

===The beginning===

As a child he preferred other sports. Due to his
height he played basketball, but after Argentina's
victory in the Football World Cup 1978|1978 World
Cup, in which he was particularly impressed by the
skills of Mario Kempes, he devoted himself to
football. After playing with friends on the
streets and in the small Grupo Alegria club, he
joined the local Platense junior team.

While with Platense he was selected for the
Reconquista team with which he won the provincial
championship against Newell's Old Boys from
Rosario, also in Santa Fe Province. His 2 goals
called their attention, and he signed for them in


He therefore joined the professional football club
of Newell's Old Boys Club, whose coach was Marcelo
Bielsa, who was later also his coach in the
National Team.

Things didn't come easy for him during the first
year. He was away from home, his family and his
girlfriend Irina, sleeping in a room in the
stadium, and had a weight problem that slowed him
down. At the end of that year he was lent to the
smaller team Deportivo Italiano, of Buenos Aires,
with whom he participated in the Carnevale Cup in
Italy, ending as top scorer with 3 goals.

At mid-1989 he made a jump to one of Argentina's
biggest clubs, CA River Plate|River Plate, where
he scored 17 goals, but in mid-season coach Daniel
Passarella (with whom he had later confrontation
as they met in the national team) dropped him from
the team.

In 1990 Batistuta signed for the other biggest
Argentinean team, Boca Juniors, who he was already
keen on. Having gone so long without playing he
again found it hard to find his best form. At the
begging of 1991 Oscar Tabárez became Boca's
coach, and gave Batistuta support and confidence
to become top scorer of that season, winning the
local championship.


Also in 1991, Batistuta was also selected to play
for Argentina in the Copa América held in Chile,
where he was again both champion and top scorer
with 6 goals.

It was during that competition that the
vice-president of Fiorentina got the chance to see
Gabriel's qualities, and signed him right away.
Unhappily, Fiorentina were relegated at the end of
that season to the Serie B (second division), in
spite of Batistuta's 13 goals. After two years,
with 16 goals of Batistuta's and under the
coaching of Claudio Ranieri, Fiorentina returned
to the Serie A.

In 1993 Batistuta played his second Copa América,
this time in Ecuador, which Argentina again won.
The Football World Cup 1994|1994 World Cup, held
in the United States of America|USA, was a
disappointment: after a very promising start
Argentina were beaten by Romania national football
team|Romania in the quarter-final stage, the
morale of the team seriously affected by Diego
Maradona's drug-abuse suspension.

On his return to Fiorentina Batistuta showed his
best football, becoming 1994-1995 top scorer with
26 goals and breaking Ezio Pascutti's 30 year old
record by scoring in all of the first 11 matches
of the season. In the 1995-1996 season Fiorentina
won the Coppa Italia|Italian Cup and Super Coppa.

During the qualification matches for the 1998
Football World Cup|1998 World Cup, with Passarella
now coaching the Argentinean team, Batistuta was
left out for most of the games. Finally playing at
the World Cup finals, he scored 5 goals in that
competition, before Argentina lost 2-1 in the
quarterfinals against the Netherlands national
football team|Netherlands.

After yet another failure to win a championship of
importance, Batistuta started considering a
transfer to a bigger team. But, partly in an
effort to keep Batistuta, Fiorentina hired
Giovanni Trapattoni as coach and promised to do
everything to gain a scudetto local championship.
After an excellent start to the season, Batistuta
suffered an injury that kept him off the field for
more than a month. Losing momentum and their star
striker, Fiorentina lost the lead and finished the
season in the third position, which at least gave
them the chance to participate in the UEFA
Champions League|Champions League.

===Good-bye to Fiorentina===

Again, Batistuta was held for the 1999-2000 season
by the chance of winning both the Scudetto and the
Champions League. But, not fulfilling his dream,
he decided to move to A.S. Roma in a transfer
worth 30 million US dollars.

In spite of a knee injury that kept him out for a
few matches, he scored 20 goals for A.S. Roma and
finally realized his dream: the Italian first
division Scudetto. It was also the first
championship won by Roma since 1983.

After an incredible performance by the Argentina
in the qualification matches for the Football
World Cup 2002|2002 World Cup, undefeated for
almost 2 years, Batistuta planned to quit the
National Team by the end of the tournament, and
certainly hoped to do it holding the Trophy. But
Argentina's "group of death" proved to be so, as
with results 1-0, 0-1 and 1-1 against Nigeria
national football team|Nigeria, England national
football team|England and Sweden national football
team|Sweden the team had to go home before the
second round for the first time since 1962.

In 2004, he was named to the FIFA 100 list of 125
Greatest Living Footballers.

Back to Italy, Batistuta failed to find form with
Roma and was loaned out to Internazionale, where
he failed to make any impression. He ended his
career playing in Qatar for Al-Arabi before
retiring in March 2005 after a series of injuries
that forbid him to play in the last season.


* Physical data: Height 1.85 m, weight 73 kg
* First professional match: September 25, 1988.
San Martín (Tucumán) 1 - Newell's Old Boys 0
* First professional goal: May 16, 1989. Newell's
Old Boys 3 - Platense 0.
* First National Team match: March 27, 1991.
Brazil national football team|Brazil 0 - Argentina
* First National Team goal: July 8, 1991.
Argentina 3 - Venezuela national football
team|Venezuela 0.
* Last National Team match: June 12, 2002.
Argentina 1 - Sweden national football team|Sweden
* Last National Team goal: June 2, 2002. Argentina
1 - Nigeria national football team|Nigeria 0.
* 78 National Team matches with 56 goals.
* First Division (Serie A) Italian Championship
(with A.S. Roma) 2000-2001.
* Argentine Football Writers' Footballer of the
Year 1998.
* Italian Cup (with Fiorentina) 1995-1996.
* Second Division (Serie B) Italian Championship
(with ACF Fiorentina|Fiorentina) 1993-1994.
* First Division Top Scorer, 26 goals (with ACF
Fiorentina|Fiorentina) 1994-1995
* Copa América (with Argentina) 1991, 1993
* Copa América Top Scorer, 6 goals (with
Argentina) 1991


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border=1 style="border-collapse:collapse"|
|- align=left
!bgcolor=#77aaff width=20%|Season
!bgcolor=#77aaff width=30%|Club
!bgcolor=#77aaff width=10%|Games
!bgcolor=#77aaff width=10%|Goals
|- align=left bgcolor=#D0E7FF
|1988-89||Newell's Old Boys||16||4
|- align=left bgcolor=#F5FAFF
|1989||River Plate||7||4
|- align=left bgcolor=#D0E7FF
|1990||Boca Juniors||10||2
|- align=left bgcolor=#F5FAFF
|1990-91||Boca Juniors||19||11
|- align=left bgcolor=#D0E7FF
|- align=left bgcolor=#F5FAFF
|- align=left bgcolor=#D0E7FF
|- align=left bgcolor=#F5FAFF
|- align=left bgcolor=#D0E7FF
|- align=left bgcolor=#F5FAFF
|- align=left bgcolor=#D0E7FF
|- align=left bgcolor=#F5FAFF
|- align=left bgcolor=#D0E7FF
|- align=left bgcolor=#F5FAFF
|- align=left bgcolor=#D0E7FF
|- align=left bgcolor=#F5FAFF
|- align=left bgcolor=#D0E7FF
|2003-04||Al Arabi||18||25
|- align=left bgcolor=#F5FAFF
|2004-05||Al Arabi||3||0

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