Gabriel Batistuta

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Gabriel Batistuta
Gabriel batistuta.jpg
Personal information
Full name Gabriel Omar Batistuta
Date of birth (1969-02-01) 1 February 1969 (age 45)
Place of birth Reconquista, Argentina
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1987–1988 Newell's Old Boys
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1989 Newell's Old Boys 24[1] (7[1])
1989–1990 River Plate 21[1] (4[1])
1990–1991 Boca Juniors 30[1] (13[1])
1991–2000 Fiorentina 269 (168)
2000–2003 Roma 63 (30)
2003 Internazionale (loan) 12 (2)
2003–2005 Al Arabi 21 (25)
Total 440 (249)
National team
1991–2002 Argentina 78 (56)
* 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 eleventh 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 1999 he was third in the FIFA World Player of the Year awards.[2] In 2004 he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the "125 Greatest Living Footballers".[3] 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 stated that Batistuta is the best striker he has ever seen play the game.[4][5]

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.[6] 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.[7] He played his last season in Qatar with Al-Arabi before he retired in 2005.[8]

Biography[edit]

Gabriel 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.[9]

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

In mid-1989, Batistuta made the leap to one of Argentina's biggest clubs, River Plate, where he scored 17 goals. He was drew out of the team by the new coach Daniel Passarella in the mid season, apparently with no specific reason, according to Gabriel they never had a dispute.[10] Passarella declared at that time "when Batistuta finds a team that be able to play to him he will be mortal" and highlighted his professionalism.[11]

Boca Juniors[edit]

In 1990, Batistuta signed for River's arch-rivals, Boca Juniors. He initially found it hard to find his best form, in part not playing in his position. However, at the beginning of 1991 Oscar Tabárez became Boca's coach, and he gave Batistuta the support and put him into his best place in the field, the centre of attack. Then Gabriel became the league's top scorer that season as Boca won the championship.[10]

Fiorentina[edit]

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. In the two-legged cup final against Atalanta, Batistuta scored a goal in each fixture as Fiorentina won 3-0 on aggregate.[12]

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[edit]

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[13] and signed a 3-year contract, which earned 14.8 billion Italian lire per year before tax.[14]

He finally garnered a Serie A winners' medal as Roma clinched the Scudetto[15] 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[edit]

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.[16][17] 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.[citation needed]

International career[edit]

In 1991, Batistuta was selected to play for Argentina in the Copa América held in Chile, where he finished the tournament as top scorer with six goals as Argentina romped to victory.[18] In 1993, Batistuta played in his second Copa América, this time held in Ecuador, which Argentina won with Batistuta scoring both goals in a 2–1 win over Mexico in the final.

The 1994 World Cup, held in the United States, 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.[19]

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 fourth player to achieve this (the others were Sándor Kocsis, Just Fontaine, and Gerd Müller) and the first to score a hat-trick in two 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 (Batistuta scored the match's only goal). 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.

International goals[edit]

Note: The list does not include friendly matches.

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 8 July 1991 Estadio Nacional de Chile, Santiago  Venezuela 3–0 Win 1991 Copa América
2. 8 July 1991 Estadio Nacional de Chile, Santiago  Venezuela 3–0 Win 1991 Copa América
3. 10 July 1991 Estadio Nacional de Chile, Santiago  Chile 1–0 Win 1991 Copa América
4. 12 July 1991 Estadio Municipal, Concepción  Paraguay 4–1 Win 1991 Copa América
5. 17 July 1991 Estadio Nacional de Chile, Santiago  Brazil 3–2 Win 1991 Copa América
6. 21 July 1991 Estadio Nacional de Chile, Santiago  Colombia 2–1 Win 1991 Copa América
7. 16 October 1992 King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh  Ivory Coast 4–0 Win 1992 King Fahd Cup
8. 16 October 1992 King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh  Ivory Coast 4–0 Win 1992 King Fahd Cup
9. 17 June 1993 Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil  Bolivia 1–0 Win 1993 Copa América
10. 4 July 1993 Estadio Monumental, Guayaquil  Mexico 2–1 Win 1993 Copa América
11. 4 July 1993 Estadio Monumental, Guayaquil  Mexico 2–1 Win 1993 Copa América
12. 1 August 1993 Estadio Nacional, Lima  Peru 1–0 Win 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification
13. 22 August 1993 Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires  Peru 2–1 Win 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification
14. 21 June 1994 Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough  Greece 4–0 Win 1994 FIFA World Cup
15. 21 June 1994 Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough  Greece 4–0 Win 1994 FIFA World Cup
16. 21 June 1994 Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough  Greece 4–0 Win 1994 FIFA World Cup
17. 3 July 1994 Rose Bowl, Pasadena  Romania 2–3 Loss 1994 FIFA World Cup
18. 8 January 1995 King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh  Japan 5–1 Win 1995 King Fahd Cup
19. 8 January 1995 King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh  Japan 5–1 Win 1995 King Fahd Cup
20. 8 July 1995 Estadio Parque Artigas, Paysandú  Bolivia 2–1 Win 1995 Copa América
21. 11 July 1995 Estadio Parque Artigas, Paysandú  Chile 4–0 Win 1995 Copa América
22. 11 July 1995 Estadio Parque Artigas, Paysandú  Chile 4–0 Win 1995 Copa América
23. 17 July 1995 Estadio Atilio Paiva Olivera, Rivera  Brazil 2–2 Draw 1995 Copa América
24. 24 April 1996 Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires  Bolivia 3–1 Win 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
25. 1 September 1996 Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires  Paraguay 1–1 Draw 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
26. 15 December 1996 Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires  Chile 1–1 Draw 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
27. 14 June 1998 Stadium Municipal, Toulouse  Japan 1–0 Win 1998 FIFA World Cup
28. 21 June 1998 Parc de Princes, Paris  Jamaica 5–0 Win 1998 FIFA World Cup
29. 21 June 1998 Parc de Princes, Paris  Jamaica 5–0 Win 1998 FIFA World Cup
30. 21 June 1998 Parc de Princes, Paris  Jamaica 5–0 Win 1998 FIFA World Cup
31. 30 June 1998 Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne  England 2–2 Draw 1998 FIFA World Cup
32. 29 March 2000 Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires  Chile 4–1 Win 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
33. 29 June 2000 Estadio El Campín, Bogotá  Colombia 3–1 Win 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
34. 29 June 2000 Estadio El Campín, Bogotá  Colombia 3–1 Win 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
35. 8 October 2000 Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires  Uruguay 2–1 Win 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
36. 7 October 2001 Estadio Defensores del Chaco, Asunción  Paraguay 2–2 Draw 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
37. 2 June 2002 Kashima Soccer Stadium, Ibaraki  Nigeria 1–0 Win 2002 FIFA World Cup

Personal life[edit]

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.[20] During the 2006 FIFA World Cup he worked as a commentator for Televisa Deportes. Batistuta currently runs his own construction company in Argentina. He also worked as technical secretary in the professional football club Colón, joining the club's staff in January 2012, and leaving at the end of the 2012–2013 season.[21]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Club Season League Cup[22] Continental[23] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Newell's 1988–89 24 7 5 3 29 11
River Plate 1989–90 21 4 21 4
Boca Juniors 1990–91 30 13 10 6 40 19
Fiorentina 1991–92 27 13 3 1 30 14
1992–93 32 16 3 3 35 19
1993–94 26 16 4 3 2 2 32 21
1994–95 32 26 5 2 37 28
1995–96 31 19 8 8 39 27
1996–97 32 13 3 2 7 4 42 19
1997–98 31 21 5 3 37 24
1998–99 28 21 6 4 3 1 37 26
1999–00 30 23 3 0 11 6 44 29
Roma 2000–01 28 20 0 0 3 1 31 21
2001–02 23 6 1 0 8 0 32 6
2002–03 12 4 2 1 6 1 20 6
Internazionale 2002–03 12 2 12 2
Al-Arabi 2003–04 18 25 0 0 18 25
2004–05 3 0 0 0 3 0
Total for Fiorentina 269 168 40 26 23 13 332 207
Career Total 440 249 43 27 47 24 516 300

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

River Plate
Boca Juniors
Fiorentina
Roma

National team[edit]

Argentina

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Gabriel Batistuta at National-Football-Teams.com
  2. ^ "Rivaldo on top of the world" FIFA.com. Retrieved 17 November 2013
  3. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Radamel Falcao: The Natural Heir to Gabriel Batistuta". Bleacher Report. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Why Messi will struggle to surpass Batistuta's Argentina record". Goal.com. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Gabriel Batistuta History – His Fans
  7. ^ "Roma-scudetto, racconta il tuo 17 giugno 2001" (in Italian). Corriere dello Sport. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta retires from soccer". USA Today. 14 March 2005. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Batistuta linked with Perth Glory bid, TribalFootball, 22 April 2006[dead link]
  10. ^ a b "Hablemos de Futbol", ESPN +, 2005-06-25 Hosters Victor Hugo Morales and Roberto Perfumo, guests Gabriel Batistuta and Diego Maradona, available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PerOS8-0e-4
  11. ^ "El Gráfico" Special Edition n. 61, 1990, May, page 52.
  12. ^ "Coppa Italia 1995/96". RSSSF. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "BILANCIO D’ESERCIZIO E CONSOLIDATO DI GRUPPO AL 30 GIUGNO 2000". AS Roma (in Italian) (Borsa Italiana Archive). Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  14. ^ "Gabriel Batistuta è della Roma". AS Roma (in Italian). 2 June 2000. Archived from the original on 14 February 2002. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  15. ^ "Roman Soldier: 2001 Roma Scudetto Winners – Where Are They Now?". Goal.com. 23 September 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Fulham rejected Batistuta". BBC News. 7 June 2002. 
  17. ^ "Fulham head Batistuta chase". BBC News. 18 December 2002. 
  18. ^ "Equipos históricos: Argentina 1991, la era post Maradona y un comienzo auspicioso" (in Spanish). Muy Futbol. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Batistuta, Maradona Star in Argentina's 4–0 Win Over Greece". Seattle Times. 21 June 1994. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  20. ^ Argentine great keen to coach Socceroos
  21. ^ "Batistuta makes return to football as technical secretary of Argentinian club". Daily Mail. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  22. ^ Includes Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, and Emir of Qatar Cup.
  23. ^ Includes Copa Libertadores, Anglo-Italian Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

External links[edit]