Roberto Baggio: The Divine Ponytail “Il divin Codino”

The trailer is out for a new Netflix documentary about the legendary footballer Roberto Baggio. To get you warmed up we bring you the summary of his illustrious career.

A free-kick mastermind and an artist with the ball, Roberto Baggio is one of the biggest legends of Italian football. In this article, we will be discussing the career of Roberto Baggio and why we cannot wait for the new Baggio: The Divine Ponytail documentary to be released on Netflix on the 26th May 2021.

This article is a guest post by the excellent Samir Hadziomanovic. Here at The Footy Gang, we are constantly on the lookout for guest posts. Forgotten Premier League Footballers: Jozy Altidore and Zlatan v James, were also guest posts written for The Footy Gang. If you are interested in writing for our website, please get in touch.

He reached his legendary status with impressive performances for the Italian national team. Unfortunately, he is also widely remembered for the penalty he missed in the 1994 World Cup final vs Brazil.

Baggio was born in the small Italian town Caldogno. During his youth, he was always interested in football and he started playing for the local youth team at the age of 9. After scoring 6 goals in a game, he was scouted by Antonio Mora and joined the Vicenza youth team. His professional career started in 1982 at Vicenza in Serie C1.

In the year 1985, Baggio transferred to Fiorentina where he reached cult status among the fans as they considered him to be one of the best players in the history of the club. Baggio made his Serie A debut against Sampdoria in 1986. On 10 May 1987, he scored his first Serie A goal, in the match against Napoli, mostly remembered for Napoli winning their first Scudetto.

In 1990, despite protests from the fans, he was sold to Juventus for 12 million euros, the world record for the most expensive fee at the time. Following the transfer, 50 people were injured at the riots that occurred on the streets of Florence. Baggio said that he was compelled to accept the transfer.

In 1993, he won his first and only trophy in European competitions, helping Juventus win the UEFA cup. He scored one of three Juventus’ goals in the final. His performances during that year have won him Ballon d’Or and Footballer of the year awards. With Juventus, he won his first Scudetto in 1995.

With growing pressure from the president of AC Milan Silvio Berlusconi, and because Juve focused on the rising talent Alessandro Del Piero, he was sold to Milan. At the time there were rumours about his transfer to Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers but no official offer came from Premier League teams.

Baggio transferred to Bologna in 1997 to revive his career, and after scoring his personal record of 22 goals he was included in starting eleven for the 1998 World Cup. After the World Cup he moved to Inter, in a move that would prove to be bad for his career as he didn’t get a lot of playing time. This would cost him his place in the national team. After two years at Inter, Baggio moved to Brescia, aiming to play at the 2002 World Cup.

At the start of 2001/02 season he scored eight times in nine matches, however, unfortunately, he was harshly injured. He managed to return just three matches before the end of the season and scored in two of those matches. Despite that, he didn’t get called for the national team as the head coach felt that he wasn’t fully recovered. Baggio continued to play for Brescia until 2004, when he retired. He played his last game at San Siro against Milan. He was substituted at 88th minute and got a standing ovation from 80,000 fans in attendance. He finished his career with 205 Serie A goals, taking fifth place on the list of top Serie A goalscorers. Brescia retired his number 10 jersey.

Baggio scored 27 goals in 56 appearances for the national team. He is the only Italian who scored at three World Cups and with 9 World Cup goals he is one of Italy's best goal scorers at World Cups. Even with his enormous talents he has never managed to win any trophy with the national team. He missed the decisive penalty in the final of 1994 World Cup which led to Italy losing against Brazil on penalties.

His first World Cup was in 1990, and even though he was a substitute he managed to leave his mark, scoring two goals including the best goal of the tournament. At 1994 World Cup, he scored five goals, all during the knockout phase before unfortunately missing the last penalty in the final. At the 1998 World Cup, Baggio became the only Italian who scored at three different World Cups. However, Italy again lost on penalties, this time in the quarterfinals against France. This time Baggio scored the penalty.

Here is a video that recaps Baggio's most famous tournament, the 1994 World Cup.

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