||This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. (January 2015)|
Baggio in 2013
|Full name||Roberto Baggio|
|Date of birth||18 February 1967|
|Place of birth||Caldogno, Italy|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Roberto Baggio (Italian pronunciation: [roˈbɛrto ˈbaddʒo]; born 18 February 1967) is a retired Italian footballer, who predominantly played as a second forward or as an attacking midfielder. He is also the former President of the technical sector of the Italian Football Federation. A technically gifted, creative playmaker, and a set piece specialist renowned for his curling free kicks, Baggio is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, coming fourth in the FIFA Player of the Century internet poll, and was chosen on the FIFA World Cup Dream Team. In 1993, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or. In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.
Baggio played for Italy in 56 matches, scoring 27 goals, and is the fourth highest goalscorer for his national team. He starred in the Italian team that finished third in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, scoring twice. At the 1994 FIFA World Cup he led Italy to the final, scoring five goals, received the World Cup Silver Ball and was named in the World Cup All-Star Team. He is largely remembered for missing the decisive penalty in the shootout of the 1994 World Cup Final against Brazil. At the 1998 FIFA World Cup he scored twice, before Italy were eliminated to eventual champions France in the quarter-finals. Baggio is the only Italian to score in three World Cups, and with nine goals holds the record for most goals scored in World Cup tournaments for Italy, along with Paolo Rossi and Christian Vieri.
At club level, Baggio is one of the top five scoring Italians in all competitions. In 2002, he became the first Italian player in over 50 years to score more than 300 career goals; he is currently the fourth-highest scoring Italian in all competitions with 318 goals. In 2004, during the final season of his career, Baggio became the first player in over 30 years to score 200 goals in Serie A, and is currently the 6th highest goalscorer of all time in Serie A, with 205 goals. In 1990, he moved from Fiorentina to Juventus for a world record transfer fee. Baggio has won two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia and a UEFA Cup, playing for seven different teams during his career.
Baggio is known as Il Divin Codino (The Divine Ponytail), for the hairstyle he wore for most of his career, for his talent, and for his Buddhist beliefs. In 2002, he was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In 2003, he was the inaugural winner of the "Golden Foot" award. In recognition of his human rights activism, he received the Man of Peace award from the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in 2010. He was inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Club career
- 3 International career
- 4 After retirement
- 5 Style of play and reputation
- 6 Records and selected statistics
- 7 Legacy in popular culture
- 8 Career statistics
- 9 Honours
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Roberto Baggio was born in Caldogno, Veneto, son of Matilde and Fiorindo Baggio, the sixth of eight siblings. His younger brother, Eddy Baggio, was also a footballer who played 86 games in Serie B. After his career threatening injury in 1985, Baggio, formerly a Roman Catholic, converted to Buddhism, practicing Nichiren Buddhism, and is a member of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist organization. Despite his conversion, he married his long-time girlfriend Andreina Fabbi in 1989 in a traditional Roman Catholic ceremony. They have a daughter, Valentina, and two sons, Mattia and Leonardo.
1982–1985: Youth career and Vicenza
Baggio began his youth career after being noticed by his hometown youth team, Caldogno, at the age of 9. By the time he had turned 11, he had scored 45 goals in 26 matches, including a match in which he had managed six goals. His talent was recognised by scout Antonio Mora, and he was acquired by the Vicenza youth team at the age of 13 for £300. After scoring 110 goals in 120 matches, Baggio began his professional career with the Vicenza senior side in 1983, at age 15.
Baggio made his Serie C debut with Vicenza on 5 June 1983, against Piacenza, and he scored his first career goal in Serie C during the following season, on 3 June 1984, against Brescia, the club with which he would retire in 2004. Baggio scored his first goal in the Coppa Italia Serie C in a 4-1 away win over Legnano on 30 November 1983. He also made his Coppa Italia debut with the club on 31 August 1983, against Palermo, and he scored his first Coppa Italia goal in a 4-2 away loss to Empoli, on 26 August 1984. During the 1984-85 Serie C1 season, he scored 12 goals, helping the club to gain promotion to Serie B. Baggio had begun to draw the attention of larger clubs, in particular Fiorentina, as his playing style had drawn comparisons to his idol, Zico. Baggio was also awarded the Guerin d'Oro in 1985 as the Best Player in Serie C. With Vicenza, Baggio scored 16 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions. Baggio scored 13 goals in 36 Serie C1 appearances, 2 goals in 9 Coppa Italia appearances, and 1 goal in 2 Coppa Italia Serie C appearances.
During the end of his final season at Vicenza, Baggio shattered the cruciate ligament of his right knee at the age of 18 whilst attempting a slide tackle against Rimini; the injury occurred two days before his official transfer deal to Fiorentina had been finalsed, and it seriously threatened his career. Although several team doctors feared he would not play again, Fiorentina retained their faith in him, agreeing to commit to the transfer, and fund the required surgery, one of many reasons for Baggio's attachment to the club.
Fiorentina purchased Baggio in 1985, for £1.5 million, and during his time at the club, despite initial injuries, he became extremely popular, and is regarded as one of the club's best ever players. In his first season with the club, Fiorentina finished in 5th place, and reached the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, with Baggio making his club debut in the competition. He made his Serie A debut on 21 September 1986 against Sampdoria, and he also made his European debut that season on 17 September 1986, in an UEFA Cup match against Boavista. Baggio suffered another knee injury on 28 September, and he was operated again, requiring 220 stitches to have it rebuilt, losing 12 kg as a result, and missing most of the season. Baggio returned, and scored his first league goal from a free kick on 10 May 1987, in a 1-1 draw against the eventual Serie A champions, Maradona's Napoli; Baggio's equaliser saved Fiorentina from relegation.
Baggio led Fiorentina to a Coppa Italia quarterfinal during the 1988-1989 season under manager Sven-Göran Eriksson, scoring 9 goals, as Fiorentina were knocked out by the eventual champions Sampdoria. This season would be Baggio's breakthrough, as he scored 15 goals in Serie A, finishing third in the capocannoniere title; he also helped Fiorentina to finish in 7th place and win an UEFA Cup spot, assisting a goal in the tie-break qualifier against Roma. He formed a notable attacking partnership with Stefano Borgonovo, and the pair scored 29 of Fiorentina's 44 Serie A goals, earning the nickname "B2". Baggio's performances elevated him to hero status among the fans, and he drew praise from several pundits. His characteristics led former Fiorentina playmaker, Miguel Montuori, to state that Baggio was: "…more productive than Maradona; he is without doubt the best number 10 in the league", also stating that Baggio had "ice in his veins", due to his composure in front of goal.
Although Fiorentina were struggling against relegation during the 1989-90 Serie A season, Baggio led the club to the 1990 UEFA Cup Final, only to be defeated by his future club, Juventus. Baggio scored one goal in 12 appearances in the competition, in a round of 16 1-0 home win against Dinamo Kiev, from a penalty, on 22 November 1989; this was his first goal in European competitions. He also scored the decisive penalty in the first round shootout against Atlético de Madrid. With 17 goals, Baggio was the second highest goalscorer in the 1989-90 Serie A season after Marco van Basten, and was awarded the Bravo Award as the best Under-23 player in European competitions; he also placed 8th in the 1990 Ballon d'Or. With Fiorentina, Baggio scored 55 goals in 136 appearances, 39 of which were in Serie A, in 94 appearances.
In 1990, Baggio was sold to one of Fiorentina's rivals, Juventus, £8 million, the world record transfer for a footballer at the time. He inherited the number 10 shirt, formerly worn by Michel Platini. Following the transfer, there were riots on the streets of Florence, where fifty people were injured. Baggio replied to his fans, saying: "I was compelled to accept the transfer".
When Juventus played Fiorentina on 7 April 1991, Baggio refused to take a penalty, stating that Fiorentina's goalkeeper knew him too well. Baggio's replacement missed the penalty, and Juventus lost the match. When Baggio was substituted, he picked up a Fiorentina scarf thrown onto the field, a gesture which, although appreciated by his former club's fans, caused outrage amongst the Juventus supporters, who were initially reluctant to accept Baggio. He claimed: "Deep in my heart I am always purple", the colour of Fiorentina.
In this first season at Juventus, he scored 14 goals and provided 12 assists in Serie A, often playing behind the forwards under Luigi Maifredi, although Juventus finished in 7th place, out of possible European Qualifying spots. Juventus did reach the semifinals of the European Cup Winner's Cup, however, a tournament in which Baggio was top scorer, with 9 goals, bringing his seasonal total to 27 goals; Juventus were eliminated by Cruyff's Barcelona "Dream Team". Juventus were also eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia to eventual winners Roma, with Baggio scoring 3 goals. Juventus also lost the Supercoppa Italiana against Napoli at the beginning of the season; Baggio scored Juventus's only goal from a free kick. Baggio made his 100th Serie A appearance in a 0-0 against Lazio on 21 October 1990.
In his second season, under new manager Giovanni Trapattoni, Baggio finished runner-up to Van Basten for the Serie A top scorer title, scoring 18 goals and providing 8 assists, as Juventus finished as runners-up to Fabio Capello's AC Milan in Serie A, and to Parma in the Coppa Italia Final, in which Baggio scored in the first leg from a penalty. During the season Baggio suffered an injury against Bari, which kept him out for three weeks, although he became accepted by Juventus fans, and was seen as a leader around whom the club's play was centred. He was played in a more advanced role, which led to minor disagreements with Trapattoni and the Juventus management.
In the 1992–1993 season, Baggio was appointed team captain. Baggio had a dominant season, winning the only European club trophy of his career, by helping Juventus to the UEFA Cup final, in which he scored twice and assisted another goal over both legs, defeating Borussia Dortmund 6-1 on aggregate. En route to the final, Baggio scored two goals in the 2-1 home victory against Paris Saint-Germain, in the first leg of the semi-final, and he went on to score the only goal in the return leg. Juventus also reached the semi finals of the Coppa Italia, losing on away goals to local rivals and winners Torino. Juventus ended 4th in Serie A that season, although they managed a 3-1 win against the Serie A Champions, Milan, with Baggio scoring a memorable individual goal. One of the highlights of the season involved Baggio scoring four goals in open play against Udinese, in a 5-0 Juventus home win; Baggio would have managed a fifth goal, but his strike was deflected by an opposing defender and was labelled an own goal. Baggio was once again runner-up for the Serie A Capocannoniere title, with 21 goals and 6 assists. He scored a personal best 30 goals in all club competitions during the 1992-93 season, in addition to 5 goals with the Italian national side. During the 1993 calendar year, Baggio managed a personal record 39 goals across all competitions, scoring 23 goals in Serie A, 3 in the Coppa Italia, 8 goals in European competitions, and 5 goals for Italy, helping his national side qualify for the World Cup. Baggio's performances throughout the year earned him both European Footballer of the Year, with 142 points from a possible 150, and FIFA World Player of the Year. Baggio was also awarded the 1993 Onze d'Or, and the 1993 World Soccer Player of the Year Award.
In the 1993-1994 season, Juventus again finished runners up to Milan, and Baggio finished third in the Capocannoniere title with 17 goals and 8 assists in Serie A, whilst they were knocked out of the UEFA Cup in the quarterfinals by Cagliari. Baggio often played as a second striker, behind Vialli or Ravanelli, and occasionally alongside the young Del Piero. Baggio scored scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Genoa, which included his 100th Serie A goal, on 31 October 1993. He made his 200th Serie A appearance on 5 December 1993 in a 1-0 win over Napoli. After sustaining an injury earlier that season, Baggio was operated on his meniscus in March 1994. Baggio placed second in the 1994 Ballon d'Or, third in the 1994 FIFA World Player of the Year, and was awarded the 1994 Onze de Bronze.
In the 1994-1995 season, Trapattoni's replacement, Marcello Lippi, wanted to create a more cohesive team, less dependent on Baggio, who was deployed as an outside forward in a 4-3-3 formation. Baggio was injured for most of the season, however, being ruled out for five months after sustaining a knee injury against Padova on 27 November 1994, after scoring from a free-kick; he was substituted by Del Piero, who temporarily took his place in the team. Baggio returned to the starting line-up in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final against Lazio, in Rome, on 8 March 1995, setting up Ravanelli's winner. On his first Serie A match back from injury, on 12 March 1995, Baggio scored Juventus's second goal in a 2-0 win over Foggia, also setting up Ravanelli's goal. Due to his injury, Baggio only managed 17 Serie A appearances, notching 8 assists, but only scoring 8 goals. He still managed to contribute to the victory of his first Scudetto with Juventus, scoring important goals to clinch the title, such as a match-winning penalty against his former team, Fiorentina, on 30 April 1995, also setting Juventus's final goal of the match. He also memorably provided assists for three of the goals in the title-deciding match against Parma, which Juventus won 4-0 in Turin, on the 21st May 1995. He helped Juventus win the Coppa Italia that year, notching 2 goals and 2 assists, scoring the winning goal in the second leg of the semi-final. He helped lead Juventus to another UEFA Cup final, scoring 4 goals, including a brace in the round of 16, and two goals and an assist against Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals. In the home leg, Baggio scored from a penalty in a 2-2 draw. In the away leg, Baggio assisted Juventus's first goal, and scored the winner from a free-kick. Despite Baggio's strong performance, Juventus were defeated in the UEFA Cup final, by Parma. Baggio finished his final season in Turin with 14 goals in all competitions. Baggio scored 115 goals in 200 appearances during his five seasons at Juventus; 78 were scored in Serie A in 141 appearances. In 1995, Baggio was nominated for the Ballon d'Or and placed 5th in the 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year Award; he was also awarded the 1995 Onze d'Argent Award, behind Weah.
Baggio is currently Juventus's 9th highest goal-scorer in all competitions, and is the joint 10th highest goal-scorer for Juventus in Serie A, alongside Pietro Anastasi. He is the 6th best Juventus goal-scorer in the Coppa Italia with 14 goals, and the joint 4th all-time Juventus goalscorer in European and International competitions, with 22 goals, alongside Anastasi. In 2010, he was named one of the club's 50 greatest legends.
In 1995, Lippi, Bettega and Umberto Agnelli stated that Baggio no longer featured in their plans at Juventus and decided to focus on the emerging Italian star Del Piero, who would inherit Baggio's number 10 shirt. Baggio faced difficulties with Umberto Agnelli, Luciano Moggi, and the Juventus management during his final season, as they stated that they would only renew his contract if he reduced his salary by 50%. After strong pressure from Milan chairman Silvio Berlusconi and manager Capello, he was sold to the Milanese club for £6.8 million, amidst several protests from the Juventus fans. At the time, he had been linked with Inter, Real Madrid, and Premier League clubs Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers.
Although Baggio initially struggled with injuries at the beginning of his first season, he came back into the starting line-up and was appointed the main penalty taker. He helped Milan win the Serie A title, notably scoring a goal against his former team, Fiorentina, from a penalty, in the title deciding match. Baggio finished the season with 10 goals in all competitions, in 34 appearances; 7 of his goals were scored in Serie A, in 28 appearances, and he also provided 10 assists in Serie A. He became one of the six players to win the Scudetto in consecutive years with different teams, and was voted the club's best player of the season by the fans, despite playing a more creative role. Towards the end of the season, Baggio had disagreements with Capello due to limited playing time, as Capello believed that he was no longer fit enough to play for 90 minutes; although Baggio frequently started matches, he was often substituted during the second half.
During the following season, under Milan's new manager Óscar Tabárez, Baggio was initially started in his preferred role behind George Weah, and on occasion, as a left winger, or as a midfielder playmaker. After a series of disappointing results, however, Baggio was relegated to the bench, and Milan's former coach, Arrigo Sacchi, was called in as a replacement, the former Italy manager with whom Baggio had argued following the 1994 World Cup. Although their relationship initially improved, Sacchi gave Baggio limited playing time, and he soon fell out of form, along with the rest of the squad, which caused their relationship to deteriorate again. Milan failed to retain their league title, finishing a disappointing eleventh place, and they were knocked out once again in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia. Baggio would make his Champions' League debut in the 1996-97 season, scoring his first goal in the competition, although Milan were eliminated in the group stage; Milan would also lose the 1996 Supercoppa Italiana to Fiorentina, as Baggio was left on the bench. During his time at Milan, Baggio scored 19 goals in 67 appearances in all competitions. 12 of his goals were scored in Serie A, in 51 appearances, 3 were scored in the Coppa Italia in 6 appearances, and 4 were scored in European competitions, in 10 appearances.
In 1997, Capello returned to Milan, and stated that Baggio was no longer a part of his plans. Baggio chose to move to Parma, but the manager at the time, Carlo Ancelotti, impeded the transfer, as he did not feel that Baggio would fit into his tactical plans. Ancelotti would later state that he regretted this decision, stating that in his naivety, he believed that the 4-4-2 was the ideal formation for success, and he felt that at the time, creative players such as Zola and Baggio were not compatible with this system.
Baggio subsequently transferred to Bologna, aiming to save the squad from relegation, and earn a place at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Baggio refound his form with the club and had a dominant season, scoring a personal best of 22 goals in Serie A, as well as providing 6 assists, leading Bologna to an 8th place finish, allowing them to qualify for the UEFA Intertoto Cup. Baggio was the highest scoring Italian in Serie A that season, and the third highest goalscorer in Serie A; his performances earned him a place in Italy's 1998 World Cup squad. Baggio also led Bologna to the Round of 16 in the Coppa Italia, scoring 1 goal in 3 appearances. Although he rose to hero status amongst the fans, he had difficulties with his manager Renzo Ulivieri, in particular when he was left of the starting 11 against Juventus. Ulivieri later denied ever having any difficulties with Baggio. At the beginning of the season, Baggio cut off his iconic ponytail, signifying his rebirth. Baggio was named as Bologna's captain for part of the season, before handing the armband to Giancarlo Marocchi. Baggio made his 300th Serie A appearance whilst at Bologna, in a 0-0 draw against Empoli on 11 January 1998. Baggio received nominations for both the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year due to his performances for Bologna and Italy that season; he was also nominated for the 1998 Italian Footballer of the Year Award, losing out to Del Piero.
After the 1998 World Cup, Baggio signed with his favourite childhood club Internazionale, in order to compete in the Champion's League. This proved to be an unfortunate move, as, after disappointing results and several managerial changes during the 1998-99 season (including Luigi Simoni, Mircea Lucescu and Roy Hodgson), Baggio struggled to gain playing time. Baggio scored 5 goals and provided 10 assists in 23 appearances during the 1998-99 Serie A season, as Inter finished in 8th place. He helped Inter to a Coppa Italia semifinal, losing out to eventual winners Parma. Baggio scored a goal against his former club Bologna in a European Play-off match, but Inter lost both matches, failing to qualify for the UEFA Cup. Baggio scored 4 goals in the 1998-99 Champions League, and he helped lead Inter through the qualifying rounds to the quarterfinals, in which they were eliminated by eventual winners Manchester United. During the tournament, he managed a memorable brace against defending champions Real Madrid, in the group stage.
In the 1999-2000 season, Baggio's former Juventus manager, Lippi, was appointed as Inter's new coach. Lippi did not favour Baggio, and left him out of the squad for most of the season, stating that Baggio was out of shape. In his autobiography, Baggio stated that Lippi had dumped him after Baggio refused to point out which of Inter's players had expressed negative opinions about the coach, also highlighting an incident during a training session, where he called out Vieri and Panucci for applauding Baggio for a notable assist.
Baggio was used scarcely, and often as a substitute, scoring only 4 goals in 18 appearances during the regular Serie A season. He made 5 appearances in the Coppa Italia, with his only goal coming against local rivals Milan in the second leg of the quarter-finals, as Inter reached the final. Despite his limited playing time, Baggio still managed several important goals to help Inter to a fourth place finish, alongside Parma, such as his match winning goal against Verona, which he scored after coming off the bench, after being excluded from the team since 18 December 1999. Baggio had also previously set up Inter's equaliser during the match. This was the first time Baggio had scored for Inter since his goal on 27 May of the previous season, and in the post-match the interview, he denied accusations made by Lippi in regard to his personal form.
Baggio's last important contribution to Inter was scoring two memorable goals against Parma in the play-off match for the last remaining UEFA Champions League place, which Inter won 3–1; Lippi had been forced to field Baggio due to several injuries. Baggio was given a perfect 10 rating from the Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, who described his performance as "absolutely perfect all game". This game is considered an example of professionalism shown by Baggio, as the Inter president Massimo Moratti had stated that Lippi would only stay on if the team qualified for the Champions League.
During his time at Inter, Baggio scored 18 goals in 61 appearances in all competitions. 9 of his goals were scored in Serie A, in 41 appearances. Baggio also scored 3 goals in 3 European Playoff matches, 1 goal in 9 Coppa Italia appearances, and 4 goals in 6 European matches, including qualifying matches.
After two years with Inter, Baggio decided not to renew his expiring contract, due to his conflicts with Lippi, making him a free agent at the age of 33. He was linked with smaller Serie A clubs such as Napoli and Reggina, and also several Premier League and La Liga clubs, including Barcelona. Baggio ultimately transferred to Serie A newcomers Brescia, under coach Carlo Mazzone, aiming to save them from relegation, and staying in Italy in order to have a greater opportunity of being called up for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He was made captain and was given the number 10 jersey, playing as an attacking-midfielder.
Despite injury problems during the first half of the season, he re-found his form, and managed 10 goals and 10 assists in the 2000-2001 Serie A. Brescia finished in a joint 7th place (their best ever Serie A finish) and qualified for the Intertoto Cup, also reaching the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia, losing out to eventual winners Fiorentina. Baggio helped Brescia to the final of the 2001 Intertoto Cup, where they were defeated by Paris Saint-Germain on away goals. Baggio scored one goal in the tournament, in the final from a penalty. His performances earned him a nomination for the 2001 Ballon d'Or, and he finished 25th overall in the rankings. Baggio was one of the best offensive playmakers in the league, winning the Guerin d'oro Award in 2001, awarded by the Italian sports magazine il Guerin Sportivo, to the player with the highest average rating throughout the season, with 19 appearances or more.
At the start of 2001–02 season, he scored eight goals in the first nine games, leading him to the top of the Serie A goalscoring table. On his 8th appearance against Piacenza, Baggio scored a goal, and later suffered an injury. A week later, against Venezia, he scored from a penalty, but he endured a more serious injury, following a hard challenge, which caused him to tear the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee, keeping him out for four months. He suffered a second serious injury that season, tearing the meniscus in his left knee, after returning to the team, and coming off the bench, in the Coppa Italia semifinal against Parma, on 31 January 2002. This second injury put his chances of playing at the upcoming World Cup in further jeopardy. He was operated on 4 February 2002, and he returned three games before the end of the season, making a record recovery of 76 days. On 21 April 2002, in the first game after his comeback, Baggio came on as a substitute to score two goals against Fiorentina, helping Brescia to win the match. He scored again against Bologna, saving Brescia from relegation on the final matchday, and bringing his seasonal tally to 11 goals in 12 Serie A matches. Despite Baggio's performances, Italy's coach, Trapattoni, did not deem him fully fit, and left him out of the final squad for the 2002 World Cup. Trapattoni also expressed concern about bringing Baggio to the World Cup due to the presence of Totti and Del Piero in his role, believing that this could create a rivalry between the players. After missing out on the tournament, Baggio reversed his initial decision to retire after the World Cup, expressing his intention to beat the 200 Serie A goal mark.
Baggio maintained a high level of performance under new coach Gianni De Biasi; he managed 12 goals and 9 assists during the 2002–03 season, helping Brescia to an 8th place finish and another UEFA Intertoto Cup spot. He scored his 300th career goal from a penalty on 15 December 2002, in Brescia's 3–1 home victory over Perugia, also setting up one of Tare's goals. He was the first player in over 50 years to reach this milestone, and with 318 goals, he is the fourth highest scoring Italian player in all competitions, behind only Silvio Piola, Del Piero, and Giuseppe Meazza.
In the 2003-04 Serie A season, the final season of his career, Baggio recorded 12 goals and 11 assists. He scored his 200th goal in Serie A in a 2-2 draw against Parma, on 14 March 2004, saving Brescia from relegation, as they finished the season in 11th place. Baggio was the first player in almost 30 years to surpass the 200-goal milestone, and is currently only one of six players to have accomplished the feat. Baggio scored his final and 205th Serie A career goal on the second last match-day, in a 2-1 home win over Coppa Italia winners Lazio on 9 May 2004; he also set up Brescia's first goal. He played his last career game on 16 May 2004 on the final match-day of the season at the San Siro against Milan in a 4-2 loss to the Serie A champions, setting up Matuzalém's goal. In the 88th minute, De Biasi substituted Baggio; the 80,000 present at the San Siro gave him a standing ovation, and Paolo Maldini embraced him before he left the pitch.
With Brescia, Baggio scored 46 goals in 101 appearances in all competitions, scoring 45 goals in 95 Serie A appearances, and 1 goal in 2 European matches; Baggio also made 4 Coppa Italia appearances with Brescia. Baggio retired as Brescia's all-time leading goalscorer in Serie A. He ended his career with 205 goals in Serie A, making him the sixth-highest scorer of all time behind Piola, Gunnar Nordahl, Meazza, José Altafini and Totti, who overtook him in 2011. Baggio's number 10 jersey was retired by Brescia in his honour, and he is considered the club's greatest ever player. Before Baggio had joined Brescia, they had never been able to avoid relegation after being newly promoted to Serie A, in over 40 years. During the four years under Baggio, Brescia recorded their best ever Serie A run, and were never relegated.
Baggio totalled 27 goals in 56 caps for his national team, making him Italy's fourth-highest all-time goalscorer, tied with Del Piero, who managed the tally in 91 appearances. He was called up for one Italy Under-21 match in 1987 under Cesare Maldini, although he was an unused substitute, strangely failing to make an appearance for the azzurrini. His first senior International call-up was given to him by manager Azeglio Vicini, and he made his first appearance for Italy on 16 November 1988, at the age of 21, in a 1-0 friendly victory over the Netherlands, assisting Vialli's match-winning goal. He scored his first goal for Italy on 22 April 1989, from a free kick in a 1-1 draw against Uruguay in an International friendly in Verona.
Baggio made his first and only starting appearance as Italy's captain the 1994 World Cup Qualifying match against Scotland; he was taken off in the final minutes due to an injured rib. 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.
Despite his performances for Italy in the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups, he never played for Italy in a European Championship, and is currently the Italian player with the most caps to never have played in a European Championship. Baggio was not called up often for the Euro 1992 Qualification matches, only making 3 appearances and scoring 2 goals, as Italy failed to qualify for the tournament, finishing second in their qualifying group behind the Soviet Union.
After the 1994 World Cup, Sacchi and Baggio infamously fell out. Their relationship deteriorated in September 1994, following a 1-1 draw against Slovenia in a Euro 1996 Qualifying match, where Baggio was benched. After a 2-1 defeat to Croatia in a Euro 96 Qualifying match in November, their relationship hit the breaking point, and Baggio, supported by his teammates, asked for the manager's dismissal. Due to his disagreements with Sacchi, Baggio was called up to the national team less frequently, only making one more substitute appearance in a 1-0 home win against Slovenia in a Euro 96 Qualifier in September 1995; he eventually lost his spot in the squad, missing out on Italy's Euro 1996 roster, despite winning the Scudetto with Milan. Sacchi justified his decision by stating that Baggio was not fully fit, and that Enrico Chiesa helped the team more when possession was lost. Italy were eliminated in the group stage of the competition. Baggio was also excluded from Maldini's Italian Olympic Squad in 1996.
Baggio is mainly remembered for his performances for Italy at the 1994 World Cup. After leading Italy to the final, scoring 5 goals in the process, he infamously missed the deciding penalty in the final, which led to Italy losing the trophy to Brazil.
1990 FIFA World Cup
Baggio was called up for his first World Cup tournament in 1990, on home soil. Baggio was often used as a substitute, appearing in five matches, but only starting in four of them, as Italy's manager Vicini preferred the more experienced Vialli.
Baggio was still able to display his ability throughout the tournament, and Vicini's decision to not use him more frequently was later criticised, as Baggio's creative combinations with Schillaci were praised. Baggio scored twice during the tournament, including the "goal of the tournament" in a 2-0 win in his first competitive international fixture, in Italy's final group match against Czechoslovakia. The goal, which drew comparisons with Meazza, involved an exchange with Giannini on the left wing, followed by a dribbling run from midfield, in which Baggio beat several players, wrong footing the last defender with a feint, before putting the ball past the goalkeeper. This goal was later elected to be the 7th best goal in World Cup history in a FIFA poll.
In the round of 16 match against Uruguay, which Italy won 2-0, Baggio started the play which led to Italy's first goal, scored by Schillaci; he also scored a goal from a direct free-kick, but it was disallowed, as the referee had awarded an indirect free-kick. Baggio also had a goal incorrectly ruled offside in the quarterfinal against Ireland, which Italy won 1-0; he was once again involved in the build-up which led to Schillaci's match winning goal. Italy were eliminated on penalties against defending champions Argentina in the semifinals after a 1-1 draw, although Baggio was able to net his penalty in the shootout. Baggio had come off the bench in the second half for Giannini, and came close to winning the match with a free kick, but it was saved by Sergio Goycochea.
In the 3rd-4th place final match against England, Baggio returned to the starting line-up, playing behind Schillaci. He scored Italy's first goal of the match after stealing the ball from Peter Shilton. Platt momentarily equalised, but with five minutes left on the clock, Baggio put Schillaci on a one on one opportunity against the keeper, and Schilaci was fouled inside the area by Parker. Although Baggio was the regularly designated penalty taker for his national team, he stepped aside to allow Schillaci to score and capture the Golden Shoe, a gesture which was praised by the Italian media. Baggio assisted a goal by Berti in the dying minutes of the match, but it was incorrectly ruled offside. Italy won the match 2-1, capturing the 3rd place medal.
1994 FIFA World Cup
Baggio was Italy's top scorer during their qualifying campaign for the 1994 World Cup, scoring five goals. He helped Italy top their group and qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, notably setting up Dino Baggio's winner in the decisive final group match against Portugal. One of his best performances during the qualifying campaign occurred on 14 October 1992 against Switzerland; Italy were trailing 2-0 at home and Baggio led his team to a 2-2 draw comeback, scoring a goal.
Baggio continued to be the cornerstone of the team during the 1994 World Cup, wearing the number 10 jersey, and leading the team to the final, after a disappointing start. Italy's manager, Sacchi, had been criticised for excluding key players, and for being unable to decide on a specific formation, as well as Baggio's definitive tactical role. In a disappointing first match against Ireland, Italy were defeated 1-0. Baggio was not at his best as he was still recovering from an injury to his left Achilles tendon. In the second match against Norway, he appeared more inspired. However, Italy goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca was sent off for handling the ball outside the area. Luca Marchegiani was brought in to replace him, and Arrigo Sacchi decided to take off Baggio, in what produced an outcry amidst the fans. Baggio later stated that Sacchi was "crazy." Italy, however, managed to win the match 1-0. Italy continued to disappoint, as their final group match ended in a 1-1 draw against Mexico, and Baggio once again failed to have an impact on the result, also picking up a minor injury, which further hindered his performance. The Italians finished third in their group, drawing much criticism from the press; Gianni Agnelli famously called Baggio "un coniglio bagnato" (a wet rabbit), referring to his despondent demeanour, hoping the jab would spur him on to score. Italy managed to advance to the knock-out stages, however, as the best third-place team.
After under-performing during the group stage, Baggio refound his form in the knockout stages, where he scored five memorable goals. He scored two in the round of 16, helping the ten-man Italian squad defeat Nigeria 2-1, after trailing for most of the match. Baggio scored his first goal of the match with 2 minutes left on the clock, after receiving ball at the edge of the area from Mussi; he then went on to score the winning goal from a penalty in extra time, after setting up Antonio Benarrivo with a lobbed pass, who was then fouled in the area.
Baggio scored another match-winning goal in the quarterfinals to top Spain 2-1 with 3 minutes remaining. After receiving the ball from Signori, he dribbled past the Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, scoring off-balance from a tight angle. Baggio was also involved in the build-up which led to Italy's first goal by Dino Baggio.
Baggio gave a man of the match performance in the semifinals; he created several chances, and scored two more goals to beat Bulgaria 2-1, leading Italy to the World Cup final for the first time in 12 years. Baggio scored his first goal after beating two players and curling the ball from outside the area into the bottom-right corner. His second was scored with a half volley from a tight angle, assisted by Albertini with a lobbed ball.
Baggio was not fully fit for the final against Brazil at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, after pulling his hamstring during the semifinal. Despite being far less dominant than in previous matches, he still tested Brazilian goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel, and was able to set up a few chances for his teammates. The match ended 0–0 after extra time; he took Italy's last penalty in the resulting shoot-out, but his kick went over the cross-bar and the Brazilians won the title in one of the most upsetting moments in World Cup history. Baggio later described the miss as the worst moment of his career, stating that it affected him for years. Before him, two other Italians, Franco Baresi and Daniele Massaro, had already missed penalties. Having led Italy to the final, Baggio received the Silver Ball as the second best player of the tournament, behind Romário, and the Silver Boot having finished tied for second in goals scored. He was also named in the World Cup All-Star Team. Baggio finished runner-up for the Ballon d'Or, with 136 points from a possible 245, and third place for the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1994.
1998 FIFA World Cup
After a lengthy absence from the National Team, Baggio was called up by Cesare Maldini for a qualifying match against Poland; Baggio came off the bench and scored a goal. He was subsequently selected as one of Italy's 22 players for the 1998 World Cup following his performances with Bologna.
In Italy's opening match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, against Chile, Baggio started alongside Vieri, playing all 90 minutes, as Del Piero was still recovering from an injury. Vieri opened the scoring from a Baggio assist, but Chile managed to equalise and take the lead, with Marcelo Salas. Baggio created several chances, but Italy were unable to equalise. Towards the end of the game, Baggio won back the ball on the right, and played an ingenious low cross into the box, which unintentionally touched Chilean defender Ronald Fuentes' hand at the edge of the penalty area, resulting in a fortunate penalty for Italy. Despite missing the decisive penalty in the 1994 World Cup Final shoot-out, Baggio stepped up to take the penalty, and he scored Italy's equalising goal, becaming the first Italian player to score in three World Cups. This was the first penalty he had taken for Italy since the 1994 World Cup final miss; Baggio described the goal as "liberating". In Italy's 3-0 second group match win over Cameroon, Baggio assisted Di Biagio's opening goal; he was replaced by Del Piero during the second half after sustaining a minor injury. Baggio scored his second goal of the tournament in Italy's final group match against Austria, which ended in a 2-1 win to Italy. Baggio came on during the second half, replacing Del Piero, after the crowd had begun to chant his name. He scored the winning goal of the match, after combining with Moriero and Inzaghi, as Italy topped their group. With this goal, he tied Paolo Rossi's record for most goals by an Italian player in the World Cup Finals, with 9; this was his 27th and final goal for Italy. He was left on the bench for the round of 16 win over Norway as Italy advanced to the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinal match against eventual champions France, Baggio came on as a substitute for Del Piero in the second half, and managed to create some scoring opportunities. The score remained 0–0, and the match went to extra time, although Baggio came the closest to scoring the golden goal, with a volley from a lobbed pass by Albertini, but his shot was put just wide of Barthez's far post. The match eventually went to a penalty shootout; although Baggio netted his penalty, the shootout was won by the host nation, as Italy were eliminated on penalties in a World Cup for the third consecutive time. Italy's coach, was criticised for starting the recovering Del Piero ahead of Baggio, and for not allowing the two players to play alongside each other. Despite rumours that the substitutions had created a rivalry between the players, Baggio and Del Piero remain friends; Baggio stated in 2008 that he has great respect for Del Piero, and that there had never been disagreements between them. Del Piero also stated that Baggio and Zidane were the best players with whom he had ever played.
Baggio was initially a regular quad member under Dino Zoff, appearing as a substitute in two Euro 2000 Qualifying matches, in a 1-1 draw against Belarus in 1999, and setting up a goal for Vieri in Italy's 2-0 win against Wales in 1998. Baggio made a starting appearance in a 0-0 friendly draw against Norway, in 1999, creating several chances, helping to set up a goal which was ruled offside, and hitting the post from a free-kick. He was later dropped from the squad however, after Inter's poor 1998-99 season, and he was not called up for Euro 2000 due to his limited playing time during the 1999-2000 season, and accusations made against his fitness. Zoff centred his squad around younger offensive players, such as Totti, Del Piero, Fiore, Del Vecchio, Inzaghi, and Montella. Baggio was voted Italy's Player of the Century in 2000.
Baggio was controversially excluded from Italy's 2002 FIFA World Cup squad. Baggio had made a direct appeal to Trapattoni prior to the tournament by writing a letter to Italy's coach, Trapattoni, who believed him to not have fully recovered from the serious injury he had sustained during the season. Although he was initially keen to include Baggio in the final 23-man list, he ultimately excluded him from the squad. Fans and pundits criticised the omission, as Italy were eliminated by co-hosts South Korea in the Round of 16.
Many fans hoped to see him play for Italy at Euro 2004, or with the 2004 Olympic squad that eventually managed a Bronze Medal, but this was not to be the case. He was, however, given an international sendoff by Trappatoni at the age of 37, in a friendly match against Spain, on 28 April 2004, in which he wore the number 10 jersey for the final time, and the captain's armband for part of the match. Although Baggio entertained the crowd with his creativity and skill, he was unable to score, despite winning a free-kick from which Vieri's equalising goal arose. The match finished 1-1 and Baggio was given a standing ovation upon being substituted by Fabrizio Miccoli. This was his 56th and final match for Italy, and it was the first time an Italian footballer's career had been celebrated this way since Piola retired.
In 2001, Baggio wrote an autobiography entitled Una porta nel cielo ("A Goal in the Sky", but also "A Door in the Sky"), including details about his career, childhood, religion, personal life, and rifts with managers. It won the award for best football book at the 2002 Serie A Awards.
On 16 October 2002, Baggio was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Through the organisation, Baggio helped to fund hospitals, raise money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake, contribute to tackling bird flu, and was involved in the Burmese pro-democracy movement, which supported the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her release from prison.
In 2004, Baggio was voted 24th in the online UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll, celebrating the best European footballers of the past 50 years. He was also selected by Pelé for the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living players, to commemorate the first 100 years since the founding of FIFA.
In 2007, on his 40th birthday, Baggio started his new, official website (www.robertobaggio.com) to converse with fans.
Baggio has close ties with Argentina; he speaks Spanish and owns a ranch property in Rivera, where he enjoys hunting wild game. In March 2008, he gave a lengthy interview with La Gazzetta Dello Sport, in which he revealed that he came to support Argentine club Boca Juniors due to their passionate fanbase.
On 8 October 2008 Baggio appeared in a charity match between Milan and Fiorentina, which had been organised in honour of his former Fiorentina team-mate Stefano Borgonovo, to raise money for his foundation, his treatment, and for ALS research.
Baggio was awarded the 2010 Man of Peace title in Hiroshima, Japan, presented by the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in recognition of his charitable work and contribution to social justice and peace.
In 2011, Baggio was inducted into the Serie A Hall of Fame. He obtained his Italy Category 2 Coaching License (UEFA A License) in mid-2011, which made him eligible to coach Lega Pro teams, or work as vice-coach in Serie A and Serie B. Furthermore, in August 2010 he was named the technical director of the FIGC, the Italian Football Federation. On 5 July 2012, Baggio obtained his Category 1 UEFA Pro Coaching Licence at Coverciano, which will allow him to legally coach a professional Serie A football club.
On 23 January 2013 Baggio stepped down from his position as the Director of the Technical Sector of the Italian Football Federation. He stated that the Federation had ignored his ideas about improving the system and focusing on youth talent, which moved him to quit.
On 1 September 2014, Baggio took part in the "Match for Peace", which was played at the Stadio Olimpico, in Rome, with the proceeds being donated to charity. Baggio set up Iturbe's goal, and scored from a Maradona assist. In Milan, on the 25th October 2014, Baggio inaugurated the opening of the largest Buddhist temple in Europe.
Style of play and reputation
Roberto Baggio is considered one of Italy's greatest and most beloved players of all time. Gianni Brera, an Italian journalist who had seen both Italian Legends Giuseppe Meazza and Gianni Rivera play, stated that Baggio was the best Italian player he had ever seen. Baggio is also remembered as a symbol of the Italian National Team, due to his memorable World Cup performances. He usually functioned as a second-forward throughout his career, as he was known for scoring goals as well as creating them, which led Platini to describe him as a "9 and a half", as he was not a true number 9 striker, due to his creative ability, but that he scored more than a number 10 playmaker. He would also state that Baggio's playing style coincided with the re-emergence of the attacking midfielder in Italy during the early 2000s. Whilst at Juventus, Gianni Agnelli referred to Baggio as an artist, comparing his elegance to the painter Raffaello, whilst he described the emerging talent Del Piero as his student Pinturicchio. Baggio is widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation, and former Southampton footballer Matthew Le Tissier has stated that Baggio was the best player against whom he had ever played, whilst Baggio's former Inter team-mate Ivan Zamorano described him as "the best Italian player of his generation". Although he is a revered technical player, pundits' opinions of him were often divided, due to his creative style of play, which was thought to be out of place in the rigorous tactical football which dominated Serie A the 90s.
Baggio was a tactically versatile player, who was comfortable attacking on both wings or through the centre of the pitch. This allowed him to play in various offensive positions, including as a striker, or as a winger, due to his crossing ability. His preferred position was that of a free-role, creative, attacking midfield playmaker, although he was rarely deployed in this position throughout his career; it was only in his later years, mainly during his time at Brescia, that he was able to play this role, due to his vision, ball skills and passing range, as well as his eye for goal, which allowed him to be effective even at a more advanced age, despite losing pace, stamina, and agility. At Inter, he was used as an outside forward, or inverted winger, and with Milan, under Tabarez, he was also occasionally utilised as a deep-lying midfield playmaker. Baggio was a set piece specialist renowned for his accurate, bending shots and free kicks, but he could also strike the ball with some power when necessary. His unique free kick technique influenced several other specialists, such as Andrea Pirlo. Despite being associated with the decisive miss in the 1994 World Cup Final shootout, Baggio was also a penalty kick specialist, and he has scored the most penalties in Serie A history. Although naturally right footed, he was comfortable using either foot, and often began dribbling with his left foot. Despite his skill and success, Baggio's career was affected by many severe injuries, and he was considered an injury-prone player.
Although he was not imposing physically, or in the air, Baggio was known for his pace, acceleration, positioning, awareness, reactions, and timing, which, along with his technical ability, allowed him to lose his markers, and made him lethal during individual dribbling runs on counter-attacks. Baggio was renowned for his skilful dribbling, ball control, balance, agility, and his ability to beat opponents with flair and feints in one on one situations, or when dribbling at speed, as well as his composure when finishing both inside and outside the area. As a playmaker, he was revered for his vision, creativity, passing ability, and tactical awareness, which enabled him to create attacking plays and goalscoring chances, and provide assists for team-mates. Baggio disliked the defensive, physical, and tactical nature of Italian football in the 90s; due to his preferred playing role, he felt out of place as a striker in a 4-4-2 formation, but drew criticism from managers when he moved out of position. He was also accused of not being a team player, as he would not always help to defend when possession was lost; it was also argued that he lacked influence and leadership on the pitch. Furthermore, he was criticised by coaches for trying to resolve situations himself too frequently, and for undertaking too many dribbling runs, although he has also been described as a "generous" player by several former team mates.
Although Baggio was never renowned for his defensive duties, he improved upon this aspect of his game as his career progressed, returning into deeper positions to press opponents and retrieve the ball, in order to start build-up plays. Due to his recurring injury problems, and his occasional disregard towards his defensive duties, Baggio was accused of being unfit and lacking stamina, something which Baggio frequently denied. Baggio is also regarded by the media as a controversial player, due to the difficulties he encountered with several managers. Notwithstanding his difficult reputation, he is also remembered for his class and correct behaviour on the pitch, a trait which referee Nicola Rizzoli has highlighted. Furthermore, his former coach, Mazzone, stated that he never had difficulties with Baggio, and has praised his teamwork, determination, work ethic, and professionalism. He has also praised Baggio's tactical knowledge, stating that he should pursue a future coaching career, and he has also lauded him for his leadership and consistency, despite having played for many different clubs throughout his career.
Records and selected statistics
Baggio played in 16 World Cup matches for Italy; Ireland is the only team against which he played more than once. He is the highest Italian goalscorer of all-time in the World Cup, with 9 goals, alongside Paolo Rossi and Christian Vieri. Baggio is the only Italian to have scored in three World Cups (2 goals in 1990, 5 in 1994, and 2 in 1998). 3 of his World Cup goals were scored in the group-stage, and 6 were scored during knockout matches. Baggio is the joint 4th highest scorer for Italy, with 27 goals in 56 appearances, with a 0.48 goal per match average. With Baggio, Italy always left the World Cup at penalty shootouts: in 1990, in the semi-finals against Argentina; in 1994, in the final against Brazil; and in 1998, in the quarter-finals against France. In his 16 world cup matches, Italy lost only one, the opening game of USA 94.
Despite his penalty miss in the 1994 World Cup Final, he is statistically one of the greatest penalty kick specialists in Italian football history. Baggio has scored 85 percent of his career penalties, with only 19 misses, scoring 108 out of 127 penalties in official matches, the most in Italian football history. Baggio scored 10 with Vicenza, 25 with Fiorentina, 38 with Juventus, 5 with Milan, 11 with Bologna, 1 with Inter, 11 with Brescia, and 7 with the Italy (from 7 attempts). 68 of his penalties were scored in Serie A, from 83 attempts, with an 82% conversion rate, one of the best records in Serie A history. In Serie A, Baggio scored 17 penalties for Fiorentina (from 19 attempts), 25 for Juventus (from 28 attempts), 3 for Milan (from 5 attempts), 11 for Bologna (from 11 attempts), 1 for Inter (from 2 attempts), and 11 for Brescia (from 18 attempts). Baggio has scored penalties for 6 different Serie A clubs. 4 of his 15 misses in Serie A were then scored on rebounds. Baggio has taken and scored the most penalties in Serie A history. 8 of his penalties were scored in Serie C (from 8 attempts), 8 in European competitions (from 9 attempts), 1 in the Italian Supercup (from 1 attempt), and 16 in the Coppa Italia (from 19 attempts). In penalty shootouts, Baggio has made 3 out of 4 career penalties; in World Cup shootouts, Baggio scored twice (1990 and 1998), with his only miss in 1994.
Although he never won the Serie A top goalscorer title, Baggio is currently the 6th all-time highest scorer in Serie A, with 205 goals; of these goals, 96 were decisive (either equalisers or match winners). Baggio has also scored the fourth highest number of free kicks in Serie A, with 21 goals; ahead of him are only Del Piero with 22, Pirlo with 25, and Mihajlović with 28. Of his open play goals in Serie A, 84 owere with his right foot, 26 with his left, and 9 were headers; he also assisted 118 goals in Serie A. He is the 4th highest scoring Italian in all competitions, behind Del Piero, Meazza, and Piola, with 318 goals.
The club against which Baggio has scored the most goals is Inter, with 17 (13 goals in Serie A, and 4 in the Coppa Italia). With Italy, the team against which Baggio has scored the most goals is Bulgaria, with 4, including 2 in the 1994 World Cup semi-final. The team against which Baggio earned his best goal to games ratio is Foggia, with 8 goals in 7 matches. During the 1992-93 Season in Serie A, in Juventus-Udinese, Baggio scored 4 goals in open play in a match for the first time in his career. Baggio has eight career hat-tricks; seven were scored in Serie A (one with Fiorentina, three with Juventus, one with Bologna, and two with Brescia), and one was scored in the Cup Winners Cup with Juventus. Baggio has also scored 45 career braces (27 in Serie A), 6 in the Coppa Italia, 7 in European competitions and 5 for Italy. During the 2000-01 season with Brescia, Baggio recorded his personal record of most consecutive matches with a goal, scoring at least one goal from the 24th matchday to the 29th matchday of the season, scoring 8 of his 10 Serie A goals of the season during those 6 matches. A correct player, Baggio has only been sent off four times in his career; he was sent off three times in his youth during teh 1988-89 season, with Fiorentina (once in the Coppa Italia and twice in Serie A), and during the next 15 years, he was sent off only once, in Serie A, during the 1997-98 season with Bologna, for a reactionary foul after a dangerous challenge by Cleto Polonia.
Goals and Appearances in official club competitions:
- 318 goals in 699 appearances all official competitions (291 goals in 643 appearances in all official club competitions)
- 205 goals and 118 assists in Serie A in 452 matches (plus 3 goals and one assist in 4 European playoff matches)
- 76 goals from 91 penalties in the Serie A and Serie C League competitions (best all-time record in Italy with an 83.5% conversion rate) - 108 goals from 127 penalties in all competitions (excluding penalty shootouts - 3 goals out of 4 attempts).
- 32 goals in 63 appearances in European competitions (including 1 goal in 2 appearances in Qualifying matches)
- 5 goals in 11 appearances in the UEFA Champions League (1 goal in 2 caps in the Qualifying Rounds)
- 17 goals in 42 appearances in the UEFA Cup
- 1 goal in 2 appearances in the UEFA Intertoto Cup
- 9 goals in 8 appearances in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
- 36 goals in 85 appearances in the Coppa Italia (plus 1 goal in 1 appearance in the Supercoppa Italiana)
- 13 goals in 36 appearances in Serie C1
- 1 goal in 2 appearances in the Coppa Italia Serie C
Goals and Appearances with the Italian national football team:
- 27 goals in 56 appearances for the Italian National Team.
- 9 goals in the World Cup finals in 16 appearances (2 in 1990, 5 in 1994, 2 in 1998)
- 6 goals in 10 appearances in World Cup qualifying matches
- 2 goals in 7 appearances in European Championship qualifying matches
- 10 goals in 23 appearances in international friendly matches
- 2 goals and 1 assist in 3 caps for the FIFA All-Stars
Legacy in popular culture
In 1994, the Italian satirist Corrado Guzzanti parodied Roberto Baggio's advertisement for Italian Petrol Company IP prior to the World Cup. The Italian poet Giovanni Raboni composed the sonnet "Lode a Baggio" in a tribute to him. He has been referenced in the songs "Baggio, Baggio" by Lucio Dalla, "Marmellata n. 25" by Cesare Cremonini, and "Chi ha Peccato" by Giuseppe Povia.
Baggio has featured in two Italian commercials which reference his infamous penalty miss in the 1994 World Cup Final. The first was made for Wind in 2000, and shows Baggio scoring the final penalty to win the tournament; The second, made for Johnnie Walker in 2001, showed how he managed to conquer his grief from the miss by believing in himself and scoring the equalising penalty against Chile in the 1998 World Cup. He has featured in several Diadora commercials as he endorsed their products.
Baggio is popular in Japan, and has held close ties with the country since his conversion to Buddhism. He has endorsed several Japanese football video games such as Super Formation Soccer 95: della Serie A, World Football Climax, and Let's Make a Soccer Team!. An animated version of himself appeared in the Japanese football cartoon "Che Campioni: Holly & Benji".
In the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted, Baggio (and Alessandro Costacurta) is mentioned during the 1995 episode, "Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest'", by Father Dougal McGuire (portrayed by Ardal O'Hanlon), who, when prompted to say the last rites in Latin, ends up saying the footballers' names. (This stems from Graham Linehan and O'Hanlon being fans of Football Italia).
Baggio has been nicknamed the "Divin' Codino" and "Robi" by his fans. An alter-ego of his is referenced in the Italian children's comics of "Mickey Mouse" and "Duck Tales" (Topolino), in the volume "Topolino e il Giallo alla World Cup" in which he is known as "Roberto Paggio".
In 2011, the Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport issued a collection of DVDs entitled "Io Che Sarò Roberto Baggio" recounting his career. Baggio's impact on tfootball has been celebrated with the release of an online game called Baggio's Magical Kicks, in which players try to replicate his accuracy on free kicks and penalties. In a FIFA poll, Baggio was voted the 9th greatest number 10 of all time.
- Includes UEFA Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and UEFA Intertoto Cup matches.
- 1990 Supercoppa Italiana
- Includes two appearances and one goal in the 1983–84 Coppa Italia Serie C.
- Includes appearance and assist in the 1988–89 Serie A 7th-place tiebreaker match against Roma to qualify for the 1989–90 UEFA Cup.
- Includes two appearances and one goal in the two-legged 1998–99 Coppa Italia third-place tiebreaker round against Bologna to qualify for the 1999–2000 UEFA Cup.
- Includes appearance and two goals in the 1999–2000 Serie A 4th-place tiebreaker match against Parma to qualify for the 2000–01 UEFA Champions League.
|Italy national team|
World Cup goals
|1.||19 June 1990||Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy||Czechoslovakia||2 – 0||2–0||1990||Group Stage|
|2.||7 July 1990||Stadio San Nicola, Bari, Italy||England||1 – 0||2–1||1990||Third place match|
|3.||5 July 1994||Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough, United States||Nigeria||1 – 1||2–1||1994||Round of 16|
|4.||5 July 1994||Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough, United States||Nigeria||1 – 2||2–1||1994||Round of 16|
|5.||9 July 1994||Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough, United States||Spain||2 – 1||2–1||1994||Quarter-Final|
|6.||13 July 1994||Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, United States||Bulgaria||1 – 0||2–1||1994||Semi-Final|
|7.||13 July 1994||Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, United States||Bulgaria||2 – 0||2–1||1994||Semi-Final|
|8.||11 June 1998||Stade du Parc Lescure, Bordeaux, France||Chile||2 – 2||2–2||1998||Group Stage|
|9.||23 June 1998||Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France||Austria||2 – 0||2–1||1998||Group Stage|
- Golden Guerin with Vicenza (Awarded to the best player in Serie C1): 1985
- Bravo Award (Awarded to the U-23 European Footballer of the Year): 1990
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Top Scorer: 1990–91
- Platinum Ball: 1992-93
- Onze d'Or: 1993
- World Soccer Player of the Year: 1993
- Ballon d'Or: 1993
- FIFA World Player of the Year: 1993
- FIFA World Cup Silver Ball: 1994
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1994
- Onze de Bronze: 1994
- Ballon d'Or (Silver Award): 1994
- FIFA World Player of the Year (Bronze Award): 1994
- Don Balon Award: 1994
- Onze d'Argent: 1995
- Friendship Golden Guerin with AC Milan (Awarded by the fans to the club's best player of the season): 1996
- World Soccer Awards 100 Greatest Players of the 20th Century #16
- Azzuri Team of The Century: 2000
- Italy's player of the Century: 2000
- Guerin d'Oro with Brescia (Awarded to the best footballer in a particular Serie A season): 2001
- Scirea Career Achievement Award: 2001
- 'Best Football Book' Award at the Italian Football Oscars: 2001
- 'Most Loved Player' Award via Internet Polls: 2001
- FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2002
- 'Most Loved Player' Award at the Italian Football Oscars: 2002
- Golden Foot: 2003
- FIFA 100: 2004
- UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll: #24
- Giuseppe Prisco award: 2004
- Guerin Sportivo's '150 Grandi del Secolo'
- Placar's 100 Craques do Seculo
- Planète Foot's 50 Meilleurs Joueurs du Monde
- Italy All-time XI by Football Italia
- Juventus All-time XI by Football Italia
- Brescia All-time XI by Football Italia
- AC Milan Hall of Fame
- Juventus 50 Club Legends
- Italian Football Hall of Fame: 2011
- "Del Piero, Totti e Baggio la fantasia al potere". Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "Top 10: Serie A Freekick Specialists". Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "Divine by moniker, divine by magic". FIFA.com. Retrieved 1 June 2014
- "24-22: Baggio to Beckham". http://www.uefa.com. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "World Soccer 100 Players of the Century". Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "I 30 migliori calciatori dei mondiali". http://www.ilpost.it. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "Mondiali 2014 - Pelé miglior numero 10 della storia, Baggio è 9°". https://it.eurosport.yahoo.com. Euro Sport. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "All-time Top 20: No. 7 Roberto Baggio". http://www.espnfc.com. ESPN. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "FIFA World Cup Dream Team (2002)". Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "Roberto Baggio: Italy's Finest no. 10". Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- "Pallone d'Oro: Baggio Vincitore". Retrieved 29 June 2012.
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- "AC Milan Hall of Fame: Roberto Baggio". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- "Journey through the Stars: Roberto Baggio". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- "Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2008.
- Roberto Baggio statistics and biography at FootballDatabase.com
- Official website
- Italian website
- Italian website dedicated to Baggio
- Swedish website dedicated to Baggio
- Roberto Baggio career stats at Soccerbase
- FAO Goodwill Ambassador website
- Forza Italian Football's Legend Profile
- Roberto Baggio at Giant Bomb
|Juventus F.C. captains