25 Şubat 2008 Pazartesi

Roberto Baggio

Roberto Baggio (born February 18, 1967 in
Caldogno, Italy) is an Italian football
(soccer)|football player, considered to be among
the best striker|forwards in the world throughout
the 1990s. In 1993, he was named both European
Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of
the Year|World Player of the Year.

Baggio started his career with Vicenza
Calcio|Vicenza in Serie C1 in 1981. ACF
Fiorentina|Fiorentina snapped him up in 1985, and
during his years there, he rose to cult status
among the team's fans. He was sold to Juventus
amid large fan outcry in 1990 for $19 million, the
world record transfer for a football player at the
time. That year, he played in his first Football
World Cup 1990|World Cup although he then only
showed flashes of his brilliance in that
tournament. In 1993, he got his lone European club
hardware, helping Juventus to the UEFA Cup.

Roberto was the cornerstone of the Italy national
football team|Italian team during the Wc|1994,
leading them to the final. He scored five goals,
all in the medal round: two in the Round of 16 to
beat Nigeria national football team|Nigeria, a
late winner in the quarterfinals to top Spain
national football team|Spain, and two to beat
Bulgaria national football team|Bulgaria on the
semifinals. Unfortunately, Baggio was not fully
fit against for the final against Brazil national
football team|Brazil, and missed Italy's last
penalty (Brazil still had a kick left) as the
South Americans won the Football World Cup|World
Cup title after a 0-0 tie. However it is often
overlooked that two other Italians, Franco Baresi
and Daniele Massaro, had already missed penalties
and had Baggio scored, Brazil would have still had
a penalty to win the Cup nevertheless.

He won his first scudetto with Juventus in 1995,
who promptly sold him to A.C. Milan, where he won
his second scudetto a year later. At the Milan
club, he was frequently at odds with then chairman
Silvio Berlusconi who was once an admirer of
Baggio and had declared that he was never a fan of
Baggio's dreadlocks but if the striker kept
scoring goals at a prodigious rate for the club,
Berlusconi would not even bother to care about
Baggio's fashion statement. In 1997, when he
thought to be on the downslide, Baggio transferred
to Bologna F.C. 1909|Bologna in order to
resuscitate his career, and after scoring a
personal best 22 goals that year, was named to
Italy's squad for the Wc|1998 in place of hotly
favored Gianfranco Zola, a decision by then coach
Cesare Maldini which did not meet with Italy
football fans' approval. He scored two goals - one
from the spot against Chile national football
team|Chile - and added one in the penalty shootout
as Italy went out to eventual champions France
national football team|France. He was thought to
be one of Italy's main contributors of that
tournament, the other being Christian Vieri in a
team full of talent but little in terms of flair
and attacking prowess and also known for playing
dour and boring football.

After the World Cup, Baggio signed with
Internazionale but this proved to be an
unfortunate move, as the then coach Marcello Lippi
did not favour Roberto and hardly played him,
preferring to play Ronaldo up front. That led
Baggio to lose him his place with national team.
After two years with Inter, he transferred to
previously unfashionable Brescia Calcio|Brescia,
playing there until his retirement in 2004. Baggio
finished his career with 203 goals in Serie A, and
56 caps and 27 goals for the national team. He was
given a sendoff match on April 28, 2004 against
Spain national football team|Spain.

Baggio played one last match, the Football for
Hope 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake|tsunami
Humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean
earthquake|relief match at the Camp Nou|Nou Camp
in Barcelona, on February 15, 2005.

Baggio is known as Codino Divino (Divine
ponytail|Ponytail), for the hairstyle he kept for
most of his career. He is a devout Buddhist, a
rarity for an Italian.

*Vicenza (1981 - 1985) (played in 36 matches and
scored 13 goals)
*Fiorentina (1985 - 1990) (94 matches, 39 goals)
*Juventus (1990 - 1995) (141 matches, 78 goals)
*A.C. Milan (1995 - 1997) (51 matches, 12 goals)
*Bologna (1997 - 1998) (30 matches, 22 goals)
*Internazionale (1998 - 2000) (41 matches, 9
*Brescia (2000 - 2004) (95 matches, 43 goals)

*Serie A champion: 1995, 1996
*Italian cup: 1995
*UEFA Cup: 1993

*European Footballer of the Year: 1993
*FIFA World Player of the Year: 1993

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