Roberto Baggio is as one of the finest footballers of all times (4th at a Fifa internet poll; member of the Fifa World Cup Dream Team), Baggio won both the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1993. He is the only Italian player ever to score in three World Cups. He is also one of the top 5 all-time goalscorers for Italy. Baggio is known as Il Divin Codino (The Divine Ponytail), for the hairstyle he wore for most of his career and his Buddhist background.
Baggio totalled 27 goals in 56 caps for his national team, the fourth-highest of all time for Italy. He is the only Italian player ever to score in three World Cups with a total of 9 career World Cup goals, which puts him even with Christian Vieri and Paolo Rossi as Italy’s top World Cup scorers. For all his talent he was never rewarded with a victory in an international competition. He infamously missed the deciding penalty in the final of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, which contributed to Italy losing the trophy to Brazil.
He made his Serie A debut for Fiorentina on 21 September 1986 against Sampdoria and scored his first league goal on 10 May 1987 against Napoli, in a match best remembered for Napoli winning the Scudetto for the first time in their history. In 1990, Baggio was sold to Juventus, amid outcry from Fiorentina fans, in 1990 for €10 million (US$13.6 million), the world record transfer for a football player at the time. In 1993, he won his only European club trophy, helping Juventus to the UEFA Cup final in which he scored twice. His performances earned him both the European Footballer of the Year and the FIFA World Player of the Year titles. In 1995 Baggio won his first Scudetto with Juventus.
In 1995, after strong pressure from Milan chairman Silvio Berlusconi, he was sold to the Milanese club. At this time, he had been linked with English Premier League clubs Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers, but no firm offers were made from either of these clubs. He helped Milan win the Serie A title, becoming the first player to win the Scudetto in consecutive years with different teams.
In 1997, Baggio transferred to Bologna in order to resuscitate his career, and after scoring a personal best 22 goals that year. After the 1998 World Cup, Baggio signed with Internazionale. This proved to be an unfortunate move, as the then coach Marcello Lippi did not favour Baggio. This caused Baggio to lose his place in the national team.
Baggio maintained a high level of performance in the next years, playing at Brescia until his retirement in 2004. He played his last game on 16 May 2004 at the San Siro against Milan. In the 88th minute, Brescia coach Gianni De Biasi subbed Baggio off so he could get his curtain call. The 80,000 present at the San Siro gave him a standing ovation. He ended his career with 205 goals in Serie A, making him the sixth-highest scorer of all time behind Silvio Piola, Gunnar Nordahl, Giuseppe Meazza, José Altafini and Francesco Totti. His number 10 jersey was retired by Brescia. He scored his 300th career goal on 16 December 2002 in Brescia’s 3–1 home victory over Piacenza. He was the first player in over 50 years to reach this milestone.
Roberto Baggio Compilation
Last match for the Squadra Azzurra