Roberto Baggio

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Roberto Baggio : biography

18 February 1967 –

In the 1993-1994 season, Juventus once again finished runners up to Milan who won their third consecutive title, and Baggio finished 3rd in the Capocannoniere title with 17 goals and 8 assists in Serie A that season, whilst they were knocked out of the UEFA Cup in the Quarter Finals to Cagliari and in the Second Round of the Coppa Italia against Venezia. Marcello Lippi was called to replace Giovanni Trapattoni the following season.

In the 1994-1995 season, Baggio was injured for the most part, being ruled out for five months due to his recurring knee injury. He notched 8 assists, but only scored 8 goals in Serie A that season. He still managed to contribute to the win of his first Scudetto with Juventus, scoring important goals to clinch the title, such as his memorable header against Milan, another crucial winner against Cremonese, as well as his goals against Parma and Reggiana. He also assisted 3 goals in the title-deciding match against eventual runners-up Parma, which Juventus won 4-0. This was the first of many league titles to come for Juventus in the 1990s. He also helped Juventus to win the Coppa Italia that year, scoring 2 goals and providing several assists. He helped lead Juventus to another UEFA Cup final, scoring 4 goals in the competition, including his free-kick against Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals. Juventus were defeated in the final by Parma, whom they had also faced in the Coppa Italia final. He finished the season with 14 goals in all competitions. He scored 115 goals in all competitions during his time at Juventus, of which 78 were scored in Serie A.

1995–2000: Milan, Bologna, and Inter

In 1995, Lippi, Bettega and Umberto Agnelli stated that Baggio no longer entered into their plans at Juventus and decided to focus rather on the young emerging Italian star Alessandro Del Piero. After strong pressure from Milan chairman Silvio Berlusconi, he was sold to the Milanese club, amidst several protests from the fans. At this time, he had been linked with Inter, as well as with English Premier League clubs Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers, but no firm offers were made from either of these clubs. He helped Milan win the Serie A title, scoring a goal against his former team, Fiorentina, from a penalty, in the title deciding match. In the Coppa Italia, Milan were knocked out in the Quarterfinals. Baggio finished the season with 10 goals in all competitions, of which 7 were scored in Serie A. He also provided 10 assists in Serie A that season. He became one of the six players to win the Scudetto in consecutive years with different teams (along with Giovanni Ferrari, Riccardo Toros, Eraldo Mancin, Alessandro Orlando and most recently, Andrea Pirlo). He would also make his Champions’ League debut in the 1996-97 season, scoring his first goal in the competition, although Milan would be rather disappointingly knocked out in the group stage. Milan finished runners up in the 1996 Supercoppa Italiana Final, as Baggio was left on the bench. During his time at Milan, Baggio had several disagreements with manager Fabio Capello due to limited playing time, since Capello believed that although Baggio was a talented player, he was no longer fit enough to play for 90 minutes. With new manager Oscar Tabarez, despite initial disagreements, in which Tabarez didn’t believe that lightweight, creative players could function in the modern physical game, the situation seemed to improve and Baggio was often started in his preferred trequartista role alongside Weah, however after a series of disappointing results, Arrigo Sacchi was called in as a replacement during the 1996-97 season, the manager with whom Baggio had previously argued during the 1994 World Cup. Sacchi gave Baggio limited playing time at Milan that season as Milan failed to retain their league title and were knocked out once again in the quarter finals of the Coppa Italia.

In 1997, Baggio transferred to Bologna in order to resuscitate his career, save them from relegation, and earn a place at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He scored a personal best of 22 goals in Serie A that year, as well as providing 6 assists, leading Bologna to an 8th place finish, allowing them to qualify for the Intertoto Cup and eventually the UEFA Cup, and leading them to the Round of 16 in the Coppa Italia that season. He was known to have had difficulties with his manager at the time, Renzo Ulivieri, in particular during one incident in which Ulivieri, at the very last moment, left him out of the starting 11 for the match against eventual Serie A Champions, Juventus. Ulivieri however later denied ever having any difficulties with Baggio, also stating that Baggio was "a talented player" and "a nice guy". At the beginning of the season, Baggio rather shockingly cut off his iconic ponytail, signifying his rebirth.