an all time great calls it a career

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by ArkCowboy, May 21, 2004.

  1. ArkCowboy

    ArkCowboy Member

    443 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    i have ALWAYS liked this guy!
    nice to see he got to ride off into the sunset proudly!
    not everyone gets to leave gracefully

    The clock runs out on Baggio's great career
    Friday May 21, 2004
    Associated Press Writer

    ROME (AP) With six minutes left in the final game of a magnificent career, 80,000 fans stood and cheered Roberto Baggio.

    Nearly everyone on the field joined the applause for one of the greatest players in Italian soccer history. Paolo Maldini, another giant in the game, hugged his former teammate.

    ``Leaving with the stadium on its feet is something that touches you deeply,'' Baggio said. ``And then the hug from Paolo, that was the most emotional one.''

    Baggio, with his signature ponytail, was a dazzling passer whose vision on the field was unparalleled. He finished his career with Brescia, retiring as the ultimate fan favorite.

    ``I think Baggio ended his career as best he could, at the highest of levels,'' AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said. ``What he did in the world of soccer is a positive example for everyone.''

    Baggio's final league game last Sunday ended with Brescia losing 4-2 to AC Milan. His fans were holding out a slim hope that he would be selected for Italy's team at the European championships. But on Tuesday his name was not among the 23 on coach Giovanni Trapattoni's roster.

    Baggio knew what was coming and had already said goodbye twice. Besides Sunday's game, Baggio also appeared in a special national team farewell last month. Baggio left the field in tears.

    At 37, with graying hair and ailing knees, Baggio would give anything to be on the national team again, and Tuesday's announcement was the last in a long string of rejections.

    Trapattoni left him off his 2002 World Cup squad amid widespread fan opposition. Throughout the summer of 2000, Baggio couldn't find a big Italian club that wanted him and signed with Brescia as the season started. At Inter, his previous club, Baggio was often relegated to the substitutes bench as part of a feud with coach Marcello Lippi.

    But, mostly, it is a career with high points. His 205 goals rank him fifth on the career list in Italy's top league. He is fourth among national team scorers with 27 goals in 56 appearances. In 1993, he won the Golden Ball award as Europe's best player. In 1995, he won his first Italian league title with Juventus, and followed with a championship a year later with AC Milan.

    Baggio has two big regrets: his six knee operations and a missed penalty kick at the 1994 World Cup. His three goals in five games led Italy to that World Cup final against Brazil in Pasadena, Calif., but he sent the penalty shot over the bar in the shootout that decided the title.

    Still, he knows he was fortunate to play as long as he did, especially after all the injuries.

    ``Considering that I could have never played again after my first operation and here we are after 19 years, I would say that it went well,'' he said.

    Baggio nearly scored in his last game when one of his trademark curling free kicks struck the post and bounced wide. A few minutes later, he exited to the long standing ovation.

    ``I had the shivers. It was something incredible, an emotion I've never felt before,'' Brescia teammate Paolo Castellini said. ``For someone like Baggio, a cornerstone of a generation, it was deserved.''

    Baggio's final goal came a week earlier, when he scored once and set up another goal in a 2-1 win against Lazio in his last home game. He ended the season with 12 goals, none penalty kicks. Only nine players were ahead of him in the season scoring standings.

    Brescia coach Giovanni De Biasi hopes Baggio will reconsider and possibly play again.

    ``We'll see if he rethinks it with time,'' De Biasi said. ``Anyway, it was a great year for him and the ovation today was deserved. It was a great tribute to a great player, an extraordinary champion.''

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
  2. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

    119,480 Messages
    4,208 Likes Received
    Off topic. I am glad to see you got the posting problems resolved.
  3. ArkCowboy

    ArkCowboy Member

    443 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    all is well now!
  4. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

    47,596 Messages
    25 Likes Received
    Ummm congrats to who is he????? :D
  5. Gaede

    Gaede Well-Known Member

    10,987 Messages
    3,825 Likes Received

    I remember Baggio in '94. Incredible. I think it was Bulgaria, but I'm not sure, I used have that game on tape--but Italy was down a man, Baggio stepped up and scored two goals. I remember one, it was so pretty. He took the ball off a throw in near the corner of the 18, made a couple moves brought the ball to near the centre and unleashed a shot that went to bottom (right I think it was) corner.

    I liked Romario better than him, but Baggio definitely deserves praise for carrying Italy in the World Cup 94
  6. ArkCowboy

    ArkCowboy Member

    443 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    he put that '94 team on his back and carried them past a VERY good Brazil team if memory serves! Brazil was especially good then and everyone had them penciled in as champs! IMO Baggio was one of those rare players that didn't stand out for any one skill (passing, shooting, etc) but did everything equally well and did those same things in spectacular fashion when the situation dictated! i wish i had seen him play more than i did!
  7. SweCowboy

    SweCowboy Member

    218 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    Ok. Baggio is a pretty good player no doubt about it. Its just that I hate Italian soccer. Italian soccer is more about falling down spectaculary in order to get a penalty shot than actually scoring. I don't think Baggio was one of the worst of these actors, but this has unfortunalty become a plague of soccer. My worst fear is that this type of mentality will become more frequent in football. As in WRs falling down in order to draw a PI penalty and so on.
  8. ArkCowboy

    ArkCowboy Member

    443 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    you hardly see brazil or germany resorting ot those tactics

Share This Page