Roberto Baggio, born on February 18, 1967 in Caldogno, a small Italian town north of Vicenza, had a significant upbringing influenced by his parents Matilde and Fiorindo and his siblings Gianna, Walter, Carla, Giorgio, Anna Maria, Nadia and Eddy. As a child, he experienced great freedom and would frequently join his father on the soccer field until late evening hours. It was during this period that his unmistakable love for the sport started to thrive.
Roberto’s soccer journey began at the age of nine in Caldogno. His talent caught the attention of his first coach, Gian Pero Zenere, who saw his potential to become a future star. A scout named Antonio Mora convinced Roberto to join Vicenza, a club in the serie C1 league, for a fee of $500.
At 15 years old, Roberto played his first C1 game with coach Cadè. In the following season, he made appearances in six league matches and scored his first professional goal under new coach Bruno Giorgi.
On February 15, 1984, Roberto received his initial call-up to play for the under 16 national team and on January 9th he participated in his first national juniors game.
Later on May 3rd, 1985 Vicenza sold Roberto to Fiorentina from serie A. It was in 1987 that Roberto introduced his iconic ponytail hairstyle on the field.
In the following year, Roberto gained significant attention and recognition. In November 1988, he was selected for his inaugural international match. As the season came to a close, Roberto tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend, Andreina, in their hometown of Caldogno. Fittingly, at the end of the season, Fiorentina transferred Roberto to their rivals Juventus of Turin for a then-unprecedented fee of 17 million dollars.
Prior to making his debut for Juve, Roberto was called up to represent the Italian national team in the 1990 World Cup held in Italy. During his first year at Juventus, Roberto delivered an exceptional performance, appearing in 33 matches during the 1990-91 Serie campaign. Simultaneously, in that same year, Roberto’s wife gave birth to their first child, Valentina.
In the years 1992-93, Roberto led Juventus to victory in the UEFA Cup, marking his first major trophy. He continued his exceptional performance in the following season of 1993-94, scoring his one hundredth Serie A goal against Genoa in October. Roberto’s outstanding talent earned him both the Golden Ball award for Europe’s top player and the title of Best Player in the World, determined by sports writers’ votes. In June 1994, his wife Andreina gave birth to their second child, Mattia. Shortly after this joyful occasion, Roberto guided ‘the Azzurri’ to the finals of the World Cup during USA ’94 while making significant contributions with goals for Italy throughout their journey.
Roberto transferred from Juventus to Milan on July 6, 1995, following his involvement in winning the Serie A championship for the second time. Later, on July 18, 1997, he moved to Bologna F.C. in the Serie A. Despite cutting his ponytail and gaining new hope with a remarkable international goal against Poland in April of ’97, Roberto and his fans were hopeful for the upcoming season in 1997-98 as they aimed to win the World Cup in France ’98. Unfortunately, their team was defeated by the host nation, France, in the semi-finals. Nonetheless, Roberto remains highly respected as one of football’s top players worldwide and is expected to get another opportunity to compete in the World Cup.