Gabriel Batistuta Profile
|Born||Feb 02, 1969|
|Birthplace||Avellaneda, Santa Fe Province, Argentina|
Argentina striker Batigol was a club legend for Fiorentina but it wasn't until he made the move to AS Roma that his goals brought Serie A glory.
Gabriel Batistuta is an Argentine former professional soccer player who played for Newell's Old Boys, River Plate, Boca Juniors, Fiorentina, AS Roma, Inter Milan and Al-Arabi. He also scored an impressive 54 goals in 77 appearances for the Argentina national team.
Batistuta is the only player ever to score two hat-tricks in different FIFA World Cup tournaments. With the Argentina national team, he won the Copa America title in 1991 and 1993, the 1993 Artemio Franchi Trophy and the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Batistuta was known for scoring spectacular goals from long range, often on the volley or while running.
River Plate and move to Boca Juniors
Batistuta began his professional career with Newell's Old Boys in 1988 after catching the eye of then-manager Marcelo Bielsa.
After initially struggling and being loaned to Deportivo Italiano, Batistuta eventually found a home for himself at Newell's Old Boys with the guidance of Bielsa, who significantly improved his physical and psychological condition.
Batistuta moved to River Plate in mid-1989 and made 19 appearances in a side which went on to win the league title. However, midway through the season he found himself out of favour under Daniel Passarella and he made the switch to Boca Juniors in 1990.
Batistuta initially struggled to fit into the Boca side, but shone after Oscar Tabarez was appointed manager and began to play him in his preferred position, down the middle of the attack. Boca won the national title and Batistuta was top scorer.
Gabriel Batistuta and Fiorentina
Batistuta signed for Fiorentina off the back of an impressive 1991 Copa America tournament. He scored 13 goals in his first Serie A season and then 16 in his second, which saw Fiorentina relegated to Serie B.
Batistuta netted 16 times in Serie B as Fiorentina won promotion straight back up to the top flight under Claudio Ranieri.
Batistuta was the top scorer in the 1994/95 Serie A season with 26 goals to his name, which included netting in Fiorentina's first 11 league fixtures.
Alongside Rui Costa and Francesco Baiano, Batistuta was crucial in helping Fiorentina go on a 15-match unbeaten run and finish fourth in Serie A. They also won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana.
In 1999, Batistuta finished third in the FIFA World Player of the Year rankings, behind Rivaldo and David Beckham.
Giovanni Trapattoni had taken over as Fiorentina head coach in 1998 and led them to third place in the 1998/99 Serie A title race, as well as the Coppa Italia final. However, after a less impressive 1999/2000 campaign saw Fiorentina finish seventh in the league, Batistuta was left with almost no option but to seek greener pastures as he fought to win his first Serie A title.
Title with AS Roma
Roma signed Batistuta for €36.2million on a three-year contract. It was a world record transfer fee for a player in his 30s, only beaten in 2017 when Leonardo Bonucci signed for AC Milan.
It proved a masterstroke for Roma and Batistuta alike as his goalscoring form set the Stadio Olimpico alight.
He netted a stunning long-range half-volley against former club Fiorentina on November 26, 2000 and refused to celebrate, saluting the Fiorentina supporters before and after the match.
Batistuta was not about to let emotion get in the way of his quest for honours, however, and he continued his lethal form in front of goal. On June 17, 2001, he scored the title-clinching goal in a 3-1 win over Parma at the Stadio Olimpico. Batistuta finished the season with 20 Serie A goals and Fabio Capello's men were crowned champions of Italy - Roma's first league title since 1983.
Batistuta spent three seasons at Roma finding the net 30 times in 63 appearances.
An unspectacular loan stint at Inter Milan followed in 2003 and he moved to Qatar's Al-Arabi that same year, where he recaptured his incredible goalscoring form from his Fiorentina days, netting 25 times.
Beset by ankle problems, Batistuta retired from playing soccer in 2005.
Gabriel Batistuta and Argentina
Batistuta finished as top scorer in the 1991 Copa America tournament in Chile with six goals as Argentina won the tournament. The following year, he was top scorer as they won the FIFA Confederations Cup.
In 1993, Batistuta once again inspired Argentina to Copa America glory, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Mexico in the final of the tournament in Ecuador.
Batistuta scored four goals in as many matches at the 1994 World Cup in the United States, including a hat-trick against Greece, but Argentina were eliminated by Romania in the round-of-16, with the team having been affected by Diego Maradona's suspension for a doping violation.
Batistuta once again found himself out of favour under Daniel Passarella, now head coach of the national team, in the build-up to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. The pair feuded over team rules, but eventually put their differences aside, with Batistuta earning a recall for the tournament and scoring a hat-trick against Jamaica. Argentina were eventually knocked out by the Netherlands.
Marcelo Bielsa took over as national team head coach following Passarella's departure and oversaw some impressive results leading up to the 2002 World Cup, but Batistuta's swansong ended in disappointment as Argentina were eliminated at the group stage.
Batistuta's 54 goals in 77 matches for Argentina made him their all-time top goalscorer until his record was surpassed by Lionel Messi in 2016.
Batistuta has admitted he struggled to find satisfaction out of playing soccer during his professional career, but added in an interview with FIFA: "Now it's all over I can look back with satisfaction, but I never felt that way when I was playing."
He has reportedly suffered mobility issues since hanging up his boots due to over-exerting himself during his playing career.
Batistuta told TyC Sports: "I left football and overnight I couldn't walk. I wet the bed even though the bathroom was only three metres away. It was 4am and I knew if I stood my ankle would kill me.
"I went to see Doctor Avanzi (an orthopaedics specialist) and told him to cut off my legs. He looked at me and told me I was crazy.
"I couldn't bear it any longer. I can't put into words just how bad the pain was. I looked at Oscar Pistorius and said, 'that's my solution'."
Batistuta met Irina Fernandez when he was 16 and she was just turning 15. The couple married on December 28, 1990 and have four sons.
Gabriel Batistuta's net worth
Batistuta earned a salary of $5.52million in 2001 while at AS Roma, as per Forbes. Despite running his own construction company his current net worth is not known.