Claudio Caniggia

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Claudio Caniggia
Caniggia river.jpg
Caniggia with River Plate in 1987
Personal information
Full name Claudio Paul Caniggia
Date of birth (1967-01-09) 9 January 1967 (age 52)
Place of birth Henderson, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Forward / Winger
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1988 River Plate 53 (8)
1988–1989 Hellas Verona 21 (3)
1989–1992 Atalanta 85 (26)
1992–1994 Roma 15 (4)
1994–1995 Benfica 23 (8)
1995–1998 Boca Juniors 74 (32)
1999–2000 Atalanta 17 (1)
2000–2001 Dundee 21 (7)
2001–2003 Rangers 50 (12)
2003–2004 Qatar SC 15 (5)
2012 Wembley 0 (0)
Total 360 (107)
National team
1987–2002 Argentina 50 (16)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Claudio Paul Caniggia (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈklauðjo kaˈnixja, kaˈniʝa]; Italian pronunciation: [kaˈniddʒa]; born 9 January 1967) is a retired Argentine footballer who played as forward or winger. Caniggia played 50 times for the Argentina national team.[1] He appeared in three World Cups, and was a member of both rival clubs River Plate and Boca Juniors. A quick, and physically strong striker, with good technique,[2] Caniggia was known for his speed as a player,[3][4][5] and competed in athletics before his football career, taking part in athletic tournaments at the provincial level, running the 100 meters.[6] In addition to his ability to score goals consistently,[2] he was also equally capable of playing off other forwards, and creating chances for teammates, and was often deployed as an advanced playmaker or creative forward.[4]

At the 1990 FIFA World Cup, Caniggia scored two key goals to help Argentina reach the final. In the opening game of the tournament against Cameroon, he was fouled three times in a single dribble, the last taking him out and earning Benjamin Massing a red card. In the second round match against Brazil, a pass by Diego Maradona put him through against goalkeeper Taffarel, with Caniggia dribbling past him and slotting the ball into the net to give Argentina victory. In the semi-final against Italy, he headed past goalkeeper Walter Zenga, the first goal Italy conceded in the tournament, sending the match into extra time as Argentina won on penalties. Having been booked against Italy, his second in the tournament, Caniggia was suspended for the final against West Germany.

Caniggia scored two goals in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, both of them in the first round match against Nigeria, the first from a Gabriel Batistuta free kick rebound and second one from a free kick by Maradona, which Caniggia finished by putting the ball in top right hand corner.

As well as appearing for River Plate and Boca Juniors, his other clubs include Atalanta, Benfica, Dundee and Rangers.

Club career[edit]

Caniggia during his tenure on Atalanta B.C. in 1999

Caniggia was born in Henderson, Buenos Aires.

At club level, Caniggia played for River Plate (1985–88), Hellas Verona (1988–89), Atalanta (1989–92 and 1999–2000), AS Roma (1992–93), S.L. Benfica (1994–95), Boca Juniors (1995–98), Dundee (2000–01) and Rangers (2001–03). He has become a club legend and cult-hero at many of the clubs he has played at.

Caniggia got a 13-month ban for taking cocaine in 1993 and has a history of enjoying the high life. After his ban expired he joined Benfica on a year-long loan financed by the Parmalat dairy company.[7]

Argentine media mogul Eduardo Eurnekian then acquired the rights to Caniggia from AS Roma and Diego Maradona from Racing Club de Avellaneda, loaning them to Boca Juniors in exchange for matches played on his television stations.[8] At the completion of his one-year contract, Caniggia's outspoken wife refused to return to Argentina and he was heavily linked with clubs in England.[9] In September 1996 his mother committed suicide by jumping from the fifth floor of her building[10] and Caniggia did not play in the 1996–97 season. He returned to play for Boca in 1997–98 but his appearances were sporadic as he missed out on the 1998 World Cup squad. After another season of inactivity he re-joined Atalanta in Serie B, but left after one season following a dispute with coach Giovanni Vavassori. He then signed for Scottish club Dundee, managed by Ivano Bonnetti whom he knew well from their time together in Italy. Quickly becoming Dundee's star player, he was then transferred to Rangers, becoming a fans favourite at Ibrox, after scoring against arch rivals Celtic in a cup final.

In June 2012, he was one of several former professional footballers who agreed to join Wembley to play in their FA Cup campaign for the new season. Caniggia and fellow former-internationals Ray Parlour, Martin Keown, Graeme Le Saux, Jaime Moreno, Danny Dichio and Brian McBride, plus David Seaman (goalkeeping coach) and former England manager Terry Venables (technical advisor), came out of retirement to play for Wembley who were featured in a television documentary as they endeavoured to help the club play at Wembley Stadium.[11] On 12 August 2012 he appeared in a preliminary round of the FA Cup. Aged 45, he scored the first goal in a 3–2 win against Langford.[12] In 2019 a new book 'The Bird & The Feather: Caniggia & Ravanelli's Dundee Adventures' was published by DC Thomson Media about his time with Dundee FC, written by Dundee journalist Graeme Strachan.

International career[edit]

Caniggia was a key player in both the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, but was not picked under the strict regime of coach Daniel Passarella for France '98.

Caniggia was capped 50 times for Argentina, scoring 16 goals. He played at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, scoring 4 goals in 8 matches. Contrary to popular belief and largely due to loose interpretation, Caniggia was not a pure striker, but rather a playmaker or creative forward.

Caniggia is great friends with Argentine legend and former international teammate Diego Maradona; the duo once celebrated a goal with a kiss on the lips. Claudio's wife at that time, model Mariana Nannis, said: "At times I believe Diego is in love with my husband. It must be the long hair and big muscles."

1990 World Cup[edit]

Caniggia scored a key goal v Brazil at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

At the 1990 World Cup, Caniggia scored two key goals to help Argentina reach the final. He came off the bench in the inaugural match against Cameroon in Milan, memorably being fouled three times in a single dribble as he carried the ball forward, the last, by Benjamin Massing earning the Cameroonian a straight red card (Massing kicked Caniggia so hard his own shoe came off). In the subsequent matches, Caniggia was in the starting lineup. In the second round, Argentina faced Brazil in Turin, and with the score 0–0 after 80 minutes, a pass by Diego Maradona left Caniggia one on one against Brazilian goalkeeper Taffarel; Caniggia dribbled past him and scored on the empty goal, giving Argentina the victory and eliminating Brazil from the tournament in what was seen as a huge upset. The goal gave him legendary status among the Argentine fans for knocking out their chief rivals.

Argentina then beat Yugoslavia in Florence on penalty kicks, advancing to semifinals, where they played against Italy in Naples. The Italians had not conceded any goals in five matches, and were up 1–0 at halftime. In the second half, Caniggia headed a cross into the net of goalkeeper Walter Zenga, ending his record streak at 517 minutes without conceding a goal, and sending the match into extra time. After no change in the score, penalty kicks were taken, and Argentina won again through this method, advancing to the final. Caniggia had been cautioned in the team's second first round match against the Soviet Union, and then received another yellow card against Italy for deliberately handling the ball, which earned him a suspension. He had to watch the final between his team and Germany from the stands in Rome, which Argentina lost 0–1.

1991 Copa América, 1992 Confederations Cup and 1993 Artemio Franchi cup[edit]

Caniggia (first from left, lower row) with the Argentina squad that won the 1991 Copa América held in Chile

Throughout the 1991 Copa América, Caniggia asserted his dominance and was arguably the most dynamic player; he scored 2 goals and made 4 assists in the tournament as Argentina won the title. He also helped Argentina win the 1992 Confederations Cup, in which he scored a goal in the final itself. In February 1993, he scored the goal of the 1-1 tie between Argentina and Denmark in the Artemio Franchi Trophy, held in Mar del Plata. Argentina finally won by penalties and was declared intercontinental champion.

1994 World Cup[edit]

Caniggia scored two goals in the 1994 World Cup, both of them in the first round match against Nigeria, the first from a Gabriel Batistuta free kick rebound and second one from a free kick by Diego Maradona, which he finished, putting the ball in top right hand corner. He was taken out of Argentina's third game against Bulgaria 26 minutes into the match in the boiling heat of Dallas, an Argentine team who were also without Maradona. He was left out of the Argentine squad for the team's Round of 16 match against Romania in Los Angeles; Argentina lost 3-2 and were out of the tournament.

2002 World Cup[edit]

After refusing to cut his long hair despite the rules of national coach Daniel Passarella, he was frozen out of the national team for a number of years. He made a brief comeback to the Marcelo Bielsa-coached squad for the 2002 World Cup, but did not play. He received a red card for cursing at the referee from the bench in Argentina's last match against Sweden, becoming the first player to be sent off from the bench in a World Cup.

Personal life[edit]

Caniggia is married to Argentine model Mariana Nannis. They have three children: son Kevin Axel, son Alexander Dimitri, and daughter Charlotte Chantal.[13]



River Plate
Qatar SC




  1. ^ rsssf: Argentina record international footballers
  2. ^ a b Matteo Dotto. "Caniggia, Claudio Paul" (in Italian). Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Sport. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  3. ^ "IL CANIGGIA RISCOPERTO" (in Italian). La Repubblica. 11 May 1994. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b Massimiliano Cappello (31 January 2015). "Che fine ha fatto? Claudio Caniggia" (in Italian). Calcio Mercato. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  5. ^ Mike Zizzo (15 June 1994). "Baggio Takes Great Strides Toward Soccer Greatness". The Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Argentina's 'Son of the Wind': Claudio Caniggia". FIFA. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Darkness descends on the Stadium of Light". The Scotsman. 22 June 1997.
  8. ^ Rob Hughes (29 August 1995). "Maradona prepares for grand return". The Times.
  9. ^ Martin Thorpe (21 September 1996). "SOCCER: ARGENTINA'S CANIGGIA FREE FOR THE TAKING". The Guardian.
  10. ^ Martin Thorpe (28 September 1996). "Ends in tears". The Times.
  11. ^ "Terry Venables' Wembley FC recruit former stars for FA Cup". BBC Sport. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Claudio Caniggia rolls back the years and scores for Wembley FC in FA Cup". 12 August 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Isola, Charlotte Caniggia: "Ho rifatto naso seno e labbra. In Honduras non farò l'amore"" (in Italian). Leggo. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.

External links[edit]