|Full name||Gabriel Omar Batistuta|
|Date of birth||1 February 1969|
|Place of birth||Reconquista, Argentina|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|1987–1988||Newell's Old Boys|
|1988–1989||Newell's Old Boys||24||(7)|
|2003||→ Internazionale (loan)||12||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Gabriel Omar Batistuta (born 1 February 1969), nicknamed Batigol as well as El Ángel Gabriel (Spanish for Angel Gabriel), is a retired professional footballer. The prolific Argentine striker played most of his club football at Fiorentina in Italy, and is the tenth top scorer of all-time in the Italian Serie A league, with 184 goals in 318 matches. On the international level, he is Argentina's all-time leading goalscorer, with 56 goals in 78 national team matches, and represented his country at three World Cups. In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the "125 Greatest Living Footballers". With an all-round game with clinical finishing, heading and free-kick taking abilities, he is known as one of the most complete strikers of his generation. Diego Maradona has also said that Batistuta is the best striker he has ever seen play the game.
When his club Fiorentina was relegated to Serie B in 1993, Batistuta stayed with the club and helped it return to the top-flight league a year later. A popular sporting figure in Florence, the Fiorentina fans erected a life-size bronze statue of him in 1996, in recognition of his performances for Fiorentina. He never won the Italian league with Fiorentina, but when he moved to Roma in 2000, he finally won the Serie A championship to crown his career in Italy. He played his last professional season in Qatar with Al-Arabi before he retired in 2005.
Batistuta was born on 1 February 1969, to slaughterhouse worker Omar Batistuta and school secretary Gloria Zilli, in the town of Avellaneda, province of Santa Fe, Argentina, but grew up in the near city of Reconquista. He has three younger sisters, named Elisa, Alejandra, and Gabriela.
At the age of 16, he met Irina Fernández, his future wife, at her quinceañera, a rite of passage on her 15th birthday. On 28 December 1990, they were married at Saint Roque Church. The couple moved to Florence, Italy, in 1991, and a year later their first son, Thiago, was born. Thanks to good performances in the Italian championship and with the Argentine national team, Batistuta gained fame and respect. He filmed several commercials and was invited onto numerous TV shows, but in spite of this, Batistuta always remained a low-profile family man.
In 1997, Batistuta's second son, Lucas, was born, and a third son, Joaquín, followed in 1999. He now has a fourth son Shamel. In 2000, Batistuta and his family moved to Rome, where he played for Roma. Two years after Shamel was born, Batistuta was loaned to Inter. In 2003, after 12 years in Italy, the family moved to Qatar where Batistuta had accepted a lucrative celebrity playing contract with a local team, Al-Arabi.
Batistuta ended his career at Al-Arabi, retiring in March 2005, after a series of injuries that prevented him from playing. Soon afterwards he moved to Perth, Australia. In April 2006, the city's established A-league franchise, Perth Glory was put up for sale however Batistuta was not interested in the purchase seeing no real potential in the club.
Club career 
Early career 
As a child, Batistuta preferred other sports to football. Because of his height he played basketball, but after Argentina's victory in the 1978 FIFA 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 that won the provincial championship by beating Newell's Old Boys from Rosario. His 2 goals drew the attention of the opposition team, and he signed for them in 1988.
Newell's Old Boys 
Batistuta signed professional forms with Newell's Old Boys, whose coach was Marcelo Bielsa, who would later become Batistuta's coach with the Argentine national team. Things did not come easily for Batistuta during his first year with the club. He was away from home, his family, and his girlfriend Irina, sleeping in a room at the stadium, and had a weight problem that slowed him down. At the end of that year he was loaned to a smaller team, Deportivo Italiano, of Buenos Aires, with whom he participated in the Carnevale Cup in Italy, ending as top scorer with 3 goals.
River Plate 
In mid-1989, Batistuta made the leap to one of Argentina's biggest clubs, River Plate, where he scored 17 goals. However, all did not run smoothly. He had numerous run-ins with coach Daniel Passarella (with whom he had later confrontations on the national squad) and he was dropped from the squad in the middle of the season.
Boca Juniors 
In 1990, Batistuta signed for River's arch-rivals, Boca Juniors. Having gone so long without playing, he initially found it hard to find his best form. However, at the beginning of 1991 Oscar Tabárez became Boca's coach, and he gave Batistuta the support and confidence to become the league's top scorer that season as Boca won the championship.
While playing for Argentina in the 1991 Copa América, the vice-president of Fiorentina was impressed by Batistuta's skills and signed him for the Italian club. He had a fine start in Serie A, scoring 13 goals in his debut season. However, the following season (1992–93) Fiorentina lost in the relegation battle and were demoted to Serie B, despite Batistuta's 16 league goals. The club returned to Serie A after one season in Serie B, with the contribution of 16 goals from Batistuta and the management of Claudio Ranieri.
At Fiorentina, Batistuta found his best form. He was the top scorer of the 1994–95 season with 26 goals, and he broke Ezio Pascutti's 30-year-old record by scoring in all of the first 11 matches of the season. In the 1995–96 season Fiorentina won the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa.
After his failure to win the Italian championship with Fiorentina, Batistuta started considering a transfer to a bigger team. In an effort to keep Batistuta, Fiorentina hired Giovanni Trapattoni as coach and promised to do everything to win the Scudetto. After an excellent start to the season, Batistuta suffered an injury that kept him out of action for more than a month. Losing momentum, Fiorentina lost the lead and finished the season in third place, which gave them the chance to participate in the Champions League in the following season.
Scudetto with Roma 
Batistuta stayed at Fiorentina for the 1999–2000 season, tempted by the chance of winning both the Scudetto and the Champions League. After a promising start in both competitions, the team only reached seventh in the league and were eliminated in the second round group phase of the European tournament. The following season, he was transferred to Roma in a deal worth 70 billion Italian lire and signed a 3-year contract, which earned 14.8 billion Italian lire per year before tax.
He finally garnered a Serie A winners' medal as Roma clinched the Scudetto for the first time since 1983. The following season with Roma, he changed his shirt number from 18 to 20 in reference to the number of goals he had scored during the Scudetto winning campaign. He also wore his age on the back of his Roma jersey in 2002, number 33.
Inter and Qatar 
Batistuta failed to find form with Roma and was loaned out to Internazionale, scoring 2 goals in 12 matches. He sought a move to England, to play with Fulham F.C. but the deal never transpired. Instead he departed Italy for Qatari team Al-Arabi on a free transfer, in a deal worth $8 million. In Qatar, he broke the record for most goals scored that was held by Qatari legend Mansour Mouftah by scoring 24 goals. He was awarded for being the top scorer in all Arab leagues in 2004 with a Golden Boot.
International career 
In 1993, Batistuta played in his second Copa América, this time held in Ecuador, which Argentina again won. The 1994 World Cup, held in USA, was a disappointment: after a promising start Argentina were beaten by Romania in the last 16. The morale of the team was seriously affected by Diego Maradona's doping suspension. Despite the disappointing Argentine exit, Batistuta scored four goals in as many games, including a hat-trick in their opening game against Greece.
During the qualification matches for the 1998 World Cup (with former River Plate manager Daniel Passarella) Batistuta was left out of the majority of the games after falling out with the coach over team rules. The two eventually put the dispute aside and Batistuta was recalled for the tournament. In the game against Jamaica, he recorded the second hat trick of his World Cup career, becoming the 4th player to achieve this (the others were Sándor Kocsis, Just Fontaine, and Gerd Müller) and the first to score a hat trick in 2 World Cups. Argentina were knocked out of the World Cup by the Netherlands courtesy of a last-minute Dennis Bergkamp winner after the two sides had held out for a 1–1 draw for almost the entire match.
After a good series of performances by Argentina in the qualification matches for the 2002 World Cup, hopes were high that the South Americans – now managed by Marcelo Bielsa – could win the trophy, and Batistuta announced that he planned to quit the national team at the end of the tournament, which Argentina aimed to win. But Argentina's "group of death" saw the team fall at the first hurdle, only managing a victory against Nigeria. They later fell to England 1–0 and managed a mere 1–1 tie against Sweden. This meant that the team was knocked out in the opening round for the first time since 1962.
Personal life 
Batistuta retired in 2005 and moved to Perth, Australia, but moved back to Argentina in 2007. Despite having completed his coaching badges in Argentina, he currently has no involvement with football (instead he prefers to play polo and golf). He expressed an interest in coaching Australia's national team and Argentina's team. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup he worked as a commentator for Televisa Deportes. Batistuta currently runs his own construction company in Argentina and works as technical secretary in the professional football club Colón.
Career statistics 
National team 
- Copa América Top Scorer: 1991, 1995
- FIFA Confederations Cup Top Scorer :1992
- Serie A Top Scorer: 1995
- 1995-96 Coppa Italia: Top Scorer
- World Cup Bronze Boot: 1994
- World Cup Silver Boot: 1998
- Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year: 1999
- 3rd FIFA World Player of the Year: 1999
- Qatari League Topscorer: 2004
- Qatari League Golden Boot: 2004
- Argentine Player of the Year: 1998
- Fiorentina all-time Top Scorer
- Argentina all-time Top Scorer
- FIFA 100
- Gabriel Batistuta at National-Football-Teams.com
- Gabriel Batistuta History – His Fans
- Batistuta linked with Perth Glory bid, TribalFootball, 22 April 2006[dead link]
- "BILANCIO D’ESERCIZIO E CONSOLIDATO DI GRUPPO AL 30 GIUGNO 2000". AS Roma (in Italian) (Borsa Italiana Archive). Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- "Gabriel Batistuta è della Roma". AS Roma (in Italian). 2000-06-02. Archived from the original on 2002-02-14. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
- "Fulham rejected Batistuta". BBC News. 7 June 2002.
- "Fulham head Batistuta chase". BBC News. 18 December 2002.
- Argentine great keen to coach Socceroos
- Includes Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, and Emir of Qatar Cup.
- Includes Copa Libertadores, Anglo-Italian Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
- Gabriel Omar Batistuta – Goals in International Matches
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Gabriel Batistuta|
- Gabriel Batistuta – official website
- International statistics at rsssf
- Gabriel Batistuta at National-Football-Teams.com
- Midfield Dynamo's 10 Heroes of the Copa América Batistuta listed in the top 10
- Gabriel Batistuta – Photo profile
- Futbol Factory profile (Spanish) (Archived)