Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The father, the son and the Batigol

This, believe it or not, is my 200th post on this site. So I wanted to make it a special one or, at least, a bit unusual. I have decided to pay tribute to my three favourite all-time Fiorentina players.

1) Giancarlo Antognoni - The undisputed King of Firenze I watched him as a little boy in pre-season training in the Tuscan hills. He was the epitome of elegance and - it seemed to me - never needed to look at his feet to know where the ball was. For those of you too young to remember, think Andrea Pirlo but a bit taller and more fragile.

He was the classic playmaker in a time before every football had to have a six-pack, thunder-thighs and a lung capacity the size of a small family saloon. He won next to nothing with the Viola but a World Cup with Italy. And he shares my name, what more could you ask?

2) Robert Baggio - Even though he went on to find fame and fortune with Juve, Inter, Milan and others we always like to think he left his heart in Florence. That was certainly the case in his first season with the Bianconeri when he declined to take a penalty against his previous employers. What a man!

He looked so small and defenceless out on the pitch and yet ghosted away from opponents as if they were not there. His balance was outstanding and coolness in front of goal impeccable. Even in his late 30s with Brescia he was still one of the best in Serie A. Ci manchi tanto Robi!

3) Gabriel Omar Batistuta - A true force of nature and possibly the greatest striker of his generation. He had power, pace and a the kind of never-say-die attitude which is not exactly typical of Italian football.

I think I have seen him score in every possible manner but if he had a trade mark it was probably this. The long ball over the top dropped in front of him, he barged past a couple of defenders and thumped the ball with such venom that even if the keeper got close he had no chance of keeping it out of his goal. "Fiorentina have scored, it's that man Batistuta again!"

You'll notice all this avoids mentioning Roma v Man Utd last night.


Red said...

Ah, il Batigol... whatever happened to him? Maybe you could do a series of "Where are they now?"...

Last night I turned the footie on just in time to see Shrek celebrate his goal. Blurg.

martinobhoy said...


Congratulations on the 200. A marvellous achievement.

I'll go for

1.Batistuta 2.Baggio and 3.Rui Costa with an honourable mention for my namesake Martin Jorgensen because he scored on my first visit to the Artemio Franchi.

Three least favourite? Amoruso, Laudrup and Kanchelskis :o)

Juventino said...

Batigol lives in Perth, Western Australia. It's about a 10 minutes drive from the suburb I live in to the suburb he lives in.

Surely I'll bump into him one day. Surely!!!

patcook said...

with the likes of Montolivo and Pazzini coming through the list might have to change, or be extended at the very least.

Ronaldo was fantastic against Roma.I dont remember too many wingers that possessed the same pace and dribbling ability as him and could still get in the box to head in a goal like that. Man U could probably stick him in goals right now and he'd excel there too.

I think Fenerbache will roll Chelsea so hopefully i can support them if (when) Roma get knocked out. I also think they could sneak past Liverpool/Arsenal thanks to their home ground.

I couldnt stand having to pick between english teams come Moscow.

Pity Fiorentina couldn't get more against Ajax. Hopefully their away form will be better than when they visited Everton. Although If Frey plays any better they wont have too many problems.

TrentToffee said...

Congratulations on reaching the 200 chap. It's quite an achievement. A good way to celebrate it too. All great players with perhaps Baggio taking the honours as the pick of the bunch. In my opinion. How the games misses them.

Aussie Romanista said...

Fiorentina with Batigol, Rui Costa, Ciccio Baiano were a delight to watch.

As for my ragazzi... at this point I'll be content for them to put in a respectable showing at Old Trafford. eg a draw or lose by 1 goal. That's pretty much all we can hope for.

ginkers said...


I'm not sure what Bati is up to these days. Still makes the odd trip to Florence to watch the boys though.


A fine trio you select - and no surprises with your least favourite.


Give him my regards!


I would love to think that these boys could be added to the list of greats in due course.


Baggio was something else right enough. I remember watching him playing on an icy pitch in Kiev - his balance was out of this world.


They were crazy days when you never knew how many goals they might score or concede...