Roberto Baggio

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Roberto Baggio : biography

18 February 1967 –

After retirement

Baggio was given an international send-off match on 28 April 2004 against Spain. He was invited to play for the European XI at the Football for Hope Indian Ocean tsunami relief benefit on 15 February 2005 at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, but he declined the invitation.

In 2001, Baggio wrote an autobiography titled ‘ ("A Goal in the Sky", but also "A Gate in the Sky"), including details about his career, the missed penalty in the 1994 World Cup Final, his injuries, personal life and rifts with managers. It won the award for best football book at the 2002 Serie A Awards.

On 16 October 2002, Roberto Baggio was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

In 2003, Baggio was the inaugural winner of the "Golden Foot" award.

On his 40th birthday (18 February 2007), Baggio started his new website (www.robertobaggio.com) to converse with his fans. As per his website he does not intend to return to mainstream football, but rather exchange words with his fans on his blogs.

In March 2008 Baggio—who has owned a ranch property in Argentina for many years—gave a lengthy interview with Gazzetta Dello Sport. In it he discussed many topics, including the team he now supports: Boca Juniors. "How did I become a fan of Boca? It’s an interesting story. A rainy Sunday, I was at my house with a friend of mine and I saw a game on TV. The score was 4–0, and was played at the Boca stadium, La Bombonera. At one point they scanned across the crowd at their fans: they danced, they sang, they twirled flags and banners. A contagious joy. I said to my friend, ‘It’s beautiful to do this when their team is winning.’ And he turned to me and said: ‘Roberto, are you watching? Boca are losing 0–4! …’ From that moment Boca has become my team. That stadium gives me incredible feelings."

On 8 October 2008 Baggio appeared in a charity match between Milan and Fiorentina for Stefano Borgonovo, with whom Baggio played at Fiorentina during the late 1980s.

August 2010 marked Roberto Baggio’s comeback into Italian football, as he was appointed as president of the technical sector of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), replacing Azeglio Vicini.

On November 2010, Baggio was awarded the World Peace Award, an annual award bestowed by Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

He obtained Italy Category 2 Coaching License (UEFA A License) in mid-2011, made him eligible to coach Lega Pro teams or as vice-coach in Serie A and Serie B. Furthermore, since August 2010 he is the technical director of the FIGC, the Italian Football Federation.

In 2011, Baggio was inducted into the Serie A Hall of Fame, along with other notable footballers and coaches, such as Michel Platini and Marcello Lippi.

On July 5, 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. He was subsequently approached by his former agent and Serie B side Modena with regards to a coaching position, after being awarded with this qualification.

On January 23, 2013 he stepped down from his position as the Director of the Technical Sector of the Italian Football Federation. He has stated that the Federation had not listened to his ideas about improving the system and focusing on youth talent, which moved him to quit.

Club career

1982–1990: Vicenza and Fiorentina

Baggio began his professional career at native club Vicenza in Serie C1 during the 1982 season at the age of 15, in which Vicenza won the Coppa Italia Serie C. In his time at Vicenza, he won the Serie C1 title in the 1984-85 season, gaining promotion to Serie B. It was during his time at Vicenza that he was first seriously injured to his left knee after attempting a slide tackle. After an apparently successful operation, his knee collapsed again during a training session and he was operated again, requiring 220 stitches to have it rebuilt.