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Roberto Baggio

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Biography

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Born in Caldogno, a small town in Northern Italy near Vicenza on the 18 February 1967. Aside from Roberto, the Baggio family had five other children; Gianna, Walter, Carla, Giorgio, Eddy and Anna Maria.

In 1993 he won his lone European club trophy, helping Juventus to the UEFA Cup. His performances earned him both the European Footballer of the Year and the FIFA World Player of the Year titles.

In 1997, when he was thought to be on the downside, Baggio transferred to Bologna in order to resuscitate his career, and after scoring a personal best 22 goals that year, was included in Italy's starting eleven for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in place of the younger and favoured Del Piero. Cesare Maldini has since been severely criticised for starting Del Piero ahead of Baggio, who was clearly in the better form, for the quarter-final match against France. When Baggio did come on for Del Piero, Italy seemed to play a lot better and Baggio nearly scored with a superb volley which only just missed the target. Had Baggio scored that shot, Italy would have won via the "golden goal" rule, and France would never have been World Champions. Cesare Maldini later apologized to Baggio for not giving him the playing time he deserved.

Baggio continued playing at Brescia until his retirement in 2004. He played his last game on May 16, 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 big standing ovation. He ended his career with 205 goals in Serie A, making him the fifth-highest scorer of all time behind Silvio Piola, Gunnar Nordahl, Giuseppe Meazza and José Altafini. 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 is the first player in over 50 years to reach this milestone, behind only Piola (364) and Meazza (338).

He scored two goals in the tournament; he also scored the winning goal against Austria as Italy topped their group.

He was invited to play for the European XI at the Football for Hope Indian Ocean tsunami relief benefit on 15 February 2005 at the Nou Camp in Barcelona, but he declined the invitation.

Baggio wrote an autobiography titled Una porta nel cielo (A Goal in the Sky, but also A Gate...). In it, he told of many rifts with managers.

On his 40th birthday (February 18, 2007), Roby started his new website to converse with his fans. As per his website he doesn't intend to return to mainstream football but rather exchange words with his fans on his blogs.

Baggio, formerly a Catholic, has converted to Buddhism. He is a member of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist Organization.

Baggio was the main player for Italian sportswear company Diadora. Throughout his whole career he wore Diadora football boots and gear.



 


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