Roberto Baggio (born Feb 18, 1967) is a retired professional football player from Italy who played between 1982 to 2004. During those years, Baggio who played in various positions established himself as one the greatest football legends of the 20th century. Baggio’s impressive dribbles, playmaking skills, and amazing goalscoring ability earned him a reputation for being one of the best footballers to have emerged from Europe. His glamorous career has also earned him a place in the list of the greatest footballers of all time. In this Roberto Baggio biography, childhood, career, personal life and facts, SportyTell takes a look at the life of the football legend from his childhood to date.
Table of Contents
Roberto Baggio’s Biography Quick Facts
Below are some biography quick facts that you should know about the Italian retired professional football legend.
- Full Name: Roberto Baggio
- Nicknames: The Divine Ponytail
- Date of Birth: 18 February 1967
- Age: 56 years old
- Place of Birth: Caldogno, Italy
- Nationality: Italian
- Zodiac sign: Aquarius
- Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.74 m)
- Weight: 73 kg
- Father: Fiorindo Baggio
- Mother: Matilde Rizzotto
- Brothers: Eddy Baggio, Walter Baggio,
- Sisters: Gianna Baggio, Carla Baggio, Giorgio Baggio, Anna Maria Baggio, Nadia Baggio
- Wife: Andreina Fabbi (married 1989)
- Sons: Mattia Baggio, Leonardo Baggio
- Daughter: Valentina Baggio
Roberto Baggio’s Early Life & Childhood
Roberto Baggio is the sixth child of eight children born on 18 February 1967 to Matilde Baggio and Fiorindo Baggio. Baggio grew up in his birth city of Venato, where his interest in football began. Baggio thus began playing football from an early age.
As a young boy, playing football, Baggio showed great promise with incredible skills. As a result of his talents, Baggio who was just 9 years old, was selected by Caldogno, a local football team, for him to join their youth team. At Caldogno, Baggio improved in his skills, and after just two years playing for their youth team, Baggio had established himself as an incredibly talented youngster.
Baggio’s impressive football skills attracted attention to him. When he was just 13, Italian club, Vicenza, bought Baggio for £300. At Vicenza, Baggio’s showed incredible skills and in 1983, at the age of 15, Baggio’s debuted for the club’s senior team.
Roberto Baggio’s Professional Career, Achievements & Awards
After debuting for Vicenza’s senior team at the age of 15, Baggio made his debut in the Serie C1 at the age of 16. In his first season playing in the Serie C1, Baggio, led his team on an impressive run which led them to be promoted to the Serie B which earned him the Best Player in Serie C award. His performance thus attracted attest from other Italian clubs, such as Florentina. Towards the end of his last season at Vicenza, Baggio suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. This came after a transfer have been agreed between Vicenza and Florentina. Despite fears that he may not be able to play again, Florentina agreed to the transfer as far as he had the necessary surgery.
Following his £1.5 million moves to Florentina, Baggio became one of the most popular players in the club, even though his debut was delayed by injury. In his first season, Baggio was instrumental in Florentina retaining a spot in the Serie A. Throughout his time in Florentina, Baggio led the team to finish in the last eight or four of various tournaments such the Coppa Italia.
He is widely recognized for his formidable partnership with Stefano Borgonovo, which earned him the nickname B2. In his final season with Florentina, the 1998/90 season, Baggio led the club to the UEFA Cup final where they lost to Juventus and also placed second in the Serie A goalscoring charts. He was then awarded the Bravo Award for being the best U-23 player in European tournaments.
Baggio successfully transferred to Juventus in 1990 for a then-world record amount of £8 million. His transfer sparked protest across Florence which resulted in the injury of 50 people. Baggio was given the no. 10 jersey. In his debut season with Juventus, Baggio led Juventus to the semifinal of the European Cup Winners’ Cup and was the tournament top scorer. In his second season at Juventus, the fans began to accept him. During his third season at the club, he was named the club’s captain and led the team to triumph at the UEFA Cup, which earned him the European Footballer of the Year, FIFA World Player of the Year, the World Soccer Player of the Year Award and the Onze d’Or awards. His fourth season at the club was less successful as he had to deal with injuries. After five seasons at Juventus, Baggio left the club.
A.C. Milan (1995–1997)
Baggio spent just two seasons at AC Milan after he was transferred to the club despite opposition from Juventus fans. He struggled at the early stage of his first season at Milan but returned to form to help the club win the Serie A while topping the assists chart. He was thus named Milan’s best player of the season. His second season was less successful as a result of less playing time. This was a result of a new coach, Arrigo Sacchi, who Baggio had no good relationship with. In his second season at Milan, he debuted in the Champions League. Milan’s performance was woeful during Baggio’s second season at the club, partly due to the fact that Baggio was regularly on the bench.
For the 1997/98 season, Baggio moved to Bologna where he became a fan favourite but failed to win a title despite several tries. For his performance during the season, Baggio was nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or awards. He also was nominated for the Serie A Footballer of the Year and Serie A Italian Footballer of the Year Awards. He did not win any of the awards.
Inter Milan (1998–2000)
Following a successful stint at the 1998 World Cup, he made the move to Inter Milan. At Inter Milan, he spent two seasons. His first season saw him struggle with injuries and earn less playing time. In his second season at Inter Milan, new manager, Marcello Lippi, did not feature Baggio in games regularly and thus he had to stay on the sidelines. As a result of injuries, Lippi had to feature Baggio, and he didn’t disappoint. He helped the club progress to the final of the Coppa Italia with his lone strike, but they lost to Lazio.
Due to his fall out with Lippi, Baggio decided to not to renew his contract with Inter Milan and signed with Brescia, a team new to the Serie A. He was thus made the club captain and was given the number 10 jersey. In his debut season with club, 2000/01 season, he led the club to the final of the 2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup where they lost to PSG. He was awarded the Guerin d’Or award as a result of his performance. His second season at the club was awful as he suffered from an injury. In his third season with Brescia, he reached 300 career goals. In his final season with Brescia, Baggio reached his 200 Serie A goal mark and thus retired with 205 Serie A goals which made him the seventh-highest goalscorer in the league’s history.
Roberto Baggio’s International Career
In November 1998, Baggio was called to play for the Italian senior football team for the first time. He went on to play in his first World Cup in 1990, where Italy, for the first time in history won Bronze. In the 1994 World Cup, Baggio who was the reigning Ballon d’Or winner was expected to be one of the stars of the tournament, but started off poorly, but regained form during the knockout stage. He successfully led Italy to the final, which ended up in a regular time goalless draw. Baggio thus took the decisive penalty for Italy and missed, which led to Brazil’s win. He describes that moment as the worst moment of his career. He was awarded the Silver Ball.
The happenings at the final of the 1994 World Cup led to the fallout between him and coach, Arrigo Sacchi, which led to him being called less frequently to the national team. In the 1998 World Cup, Baggio’s bid to win a World Cup was unsuccessful again as Italy was defeated in the final again. Baggio was excluded from the 2002 World Cup squad and the 2004 Olympics team. But after his retirement in 2004, an international send-off match against Spain was held in which he wore the no. 10 jersey. Baggio is the Italian with the most cap who have never played in a European Championship.
Roberto Baggio’s Wife, Personal Life
Roberto Baggio’s marriage to Andreina Fabbi, held in 1989, was held in the traditional Roman Catholic fashion. The couple has three children.
In 1985, Roberto Baggio converted from being a Catholic to a Buddhist.
Baggio wrote his autobiography titled “Una porta nel Cielo”, which translates, “A Door in the Sky” and also “A Goal in the Sky”. The book won a Seria A Award in 2002 as the best football book.
Baggio speaks Spanish and also has a close relationship with Argentina. He is a fan of Argentina club, Boca Juniors.
Roberto Baggio has been involved in several Philanthropic activities such as his 2014 “Match for Peace’ game in Rome. The proceeds from the match were donated to Charity. Baggio was featured in EA Sports’ FIFA 19 Ultimate team.
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