Roberto Baggio (born February 18, 1967, in Caldogno, Italy) is
an Italian football player, considered to be among the best
forwards in the world throughout the 1990s. In 1993, he was
named both European Footballer of the Year and World Player of
Baggio started his career with Vicenza in Serie C1 in 1981.
Fiorentina snapped him up in 1985, and during his years there,
he rose to cult status among the team's fans. He was sold to
Juventus amid large fan outcry in 1990 for $19 million, the
world record transfer for a football player at the time. That
year, he played in his first World Cup. In 1993, he got his lone
European club hardware, helping Juventus to the UEFA Cup.
Roberto was the cornerstone of the Italian team during the 1994
World Cup, leading them to the final. He scored five goals, all
in the medal round: two in the Round of 16 to beat Nigeria, a
late winner in the quarterfinals to top Spain, and two to beat
Bulgaria on the semifinals. Unfortunately, Baggio was not fully
fit against for the final against Brazil, and missed Italy's
last penalty (Brazil still had a kick left) as the South
Americans won the World Cup title after a 0-0 tie. However it is
often overlooked that two other Italians, Franco Baresi and
Daniele Massaro, had already missed penalties and had Baggio
scored, Brazil would have still had a penalty to win the Cup
He won his first Scudetto with Juventus in 1995, who promptly
sold him to A.C. Milan, where he won his second Scudetto a year
later. In 1997, thought to be on the downslide, Baggio
transferred to Bologna, and after scoring a personal best 22
goals that year, was named to Italy's squad for the 1998 World
Cup. He scored two goals and added one in the penalty shootout
as Italy went out to eventual champions France.
After the World Cup, Baggio signed with Internazionale but this
proved to be an unfortunate move, as the then coach Marcelo
Lippi did not favour 'Codino Divino' and hardly played him. This
helped him to lose him his place in the Italian National team.
After two years there, he transferred to previously
unfashionable Brescia, playing there until his retirement in
2004. He finished his career with 203 goals in Serie A, and 56
caps and 27 goals for the National Team. He was given a sendoff
match on April 28, 2004 against Spain.
Baggio is known as Divine Ponytail, for the hairstyle he kept
for most of his career. He is a devout Buddhist, a rarity for an