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Friday, May 31, 2002

Batistuta announces international retirement

Gabriel Batistuta will end his international career at this World Cup and is hoping to bow out in glory by firing Argentina to their third World Cup.

Batistuta: 55 goals in 75 games (Reuters)

And Argentina's highest ever goal scorer wants to reclaim his place in the team so he can break another record - Gerd Muller's total of 14 in the World Cup.

The 33-year-old Roma striker, nicknamed Batigol, is in a battle with Lazio's Hernan Crespo for the sole striker's spot in coach Marcelo Bielsa's 3-3-1-3 formation

But Batistuta, who has plundered 55 goals in 75 matches for his country, is not guaranteed a place in the team.

'My last game with this team at the World Cup will be my last game for Argentina,' revealed Batistuta, who has also scored over 100 goals in Serie A.

Batigol, who scored four goals in 1994 and five in 1998, has an eye on Gerd Muller's record of 14 World Cup finals goals, scored for Germany in 1970 and 1974.

'I've thought about it and it would be nice,'' he admits,''but it's not my main goal. My greater desire is to win the World Cup.'

Batistuta insists that he and Crespo are still in the dark about which of them will start against Nigeria in Ibaraki on Sunday.

'Bielsa hasn't told me or him who will play. As far as I know he hasn't announced the team yet.

`But everybody here wants to get in the team. We all came here hoping to win the cup, and I've never felt that I was going to be a substitute.'

Batistuta was eager to play down the rivalry with Crespo, adding: `We're not fighting with one another. We both want to play, and it's the coach who will decide.

`We think we can play together, but Bielsa obviously doesn't. So I don't think it's going to happen.'

Bielsa prefers a 3-3-1-3 formation, within which Ariel Ortega and Kily Gonzalez are expected to provide crosses for a lone striker.

Batistuta hopes he will be on the end of them, even though Crespo has outscored him at club level with 13 goals to his six, and believes he is in great shape to enjoy a spectacular World Cup swansong.

`I'm calmer and mentally stronger than I was four years ago in France,' he said.

`This is my last World Cup, and I want to win it. Not everyone can say they had the chance to do that.'

soccernet
 

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this announcement wasn't a surprise. He's said the same thing several times before.
 

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i heard that interview and bati never said a thing about his retirement.
may be it was edited, but idont think that such a statement would have been edited.
 

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Batigoll, hope he can finish his career winning the top prize, we all want that...:D
 

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here's the article from Clarin. It was even reported in the Chicago newspapers. And that never happens.

Se va Gabriel Omar Batistuta. Como el tiempo es una flecha sin freno él también pasará a ser un recuerdo, un recuerdo grande con la camiseta del Seleccionado argentino. Ahí está, en vivo y en directo, frente a flashes que lo encandilan. Pero se va. Y lo dice sin vueltas. Estos son sus últimos partidos con la celeste y blanca.

"No queda mucho tiempo para pensar en el futuro, hay que jugar ahora y basta", dice de arranque. Luego se ex tiende: "No es que imagino que éstos sean mis últimos partidos en el Seleccionado. Lo sé. Sí, sí. Es así. El problema en Argentina es que cada vez que termina un ciclo, el que viene enseguida mira al otro y se pone a sacar cuentas. Y si se pone a sacar cuentas conmigo, no le van a dar los números. Es así. De otra manera no diría estas cosas. Yo no sé si Bielsa va a seguir o no. Pero creo que las cosas van a cambiar poco. Siempre fue así en la Argentina, cada vez que empezaba un ciclo se miraba enseguida a los cuatro años que iban a venir".
 
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