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Hi folks, :)

I know there are many Baggio fans in XT, and it's really a great pity that he could not make the WC. :( So this thread is for fans to pay tribute to one of Italy's greatest sporting heroes.

No Trapattoni bashing please. :) The article below is a history of sorts on Baggio's career.

Baggio's brilliant World Cup career comes to an end
ROME, May 8 (AFP)
The brilliant international career of Brescia striker Roberto Baggio was effectively ended on Wednesday when Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni did not name him in his 23-man squad for the World Cup.
Baggio may have defied doctors in returning to Italian first division action before the end of the season just finished but his comeback stopped short of selection for the finals in Korea and Japan.
Baggio, adored by the media and fans but not always so popular with team-mates and coaches, had been ruled out for the season after injuring ligaments in January but returned to save Brescia from relegation with three goals in their last three matches.
That fuelled the campaign for Trapattoni to include the 35-year-old but the coach resisted a sometimes overwhelming demand to re-instate Baggio, one of Italy's greatest World Cup stars - but one who failed to lift the ultimate prize.
Sadly the defining moment in Baggio's brilliant career came in 1994 when Italy faced Brazil in the 1994 final, the first decided by a penalty shoot-out.
Baggio, whose accuracy rate from the spot is second to none in Italy, skied his shot over Claudio Taffarel's crossbar, to ensure Brazil and not Italy would make history by winning a fourth World Cup.
It was all the more cruel as Baggio had singlehandedly carried Arrigo Sacchi's Italy to the threshold of glory, seeing them through games with Nigeria, Spain and Bulgaria before that final disappointment.
He scored both in the 2-1 win over Nigeria, the first in the 2-1 win over Spain and both in the semi-final 2-1 win over Bulgaria.
It was the second of three World Cups for Baggio who had illuminated the 1990 edition in Italy with the best goal of the tournament against Czechoslovakia, adding another in the third-place play-off victory over England in Bari.
But his appearance in France 98 with many claiming that his presence was detrimental to the form of Alessandro Del Piero, who has since admitted he was destabilised when Italy fans chanted for Baggio instead of him, calls sometimes heeded by coach Cesare Maldini.
Nonetheless Baggio scored goals against Chile and Austria.
Baggio, dubbed the 'divine ponytail' because of his hairstyle and his conversion to Buddhism, set a world record transfer fee in 1990 when he joined Juventus from Fiorentina.
Ironically it was just as the club was emerging from years in the doldrums that the emergence of Del Piero persuaded coach Marcello Lippi to move Baggio out of the club, instead relying on the youngster and forwards Gianluca Vialli and Fabrizio Ravanelli.
Baggio and Lippi are still not on speaking terms. After a career when Baggio had starred for Juve and both Milan clubs AC and Inter it seemed he was putting himself out to grass when he joined newly-promoted Brescia for the 2000/01 season.
But his outstanding form began the media campaign for the player to be recalled, reaching a peak during the match in Parma last Autumn when Italy met Hungary still needing a draw to be sure of automatic qualification.
After a nervous opening the Italy fans started chanting the name of Baggio and booing Del Piero who responded with the goal that took Italy to Japan.
Trapattoni delivered an astonishing broadside at Italy fans after that match.
"It's an unkind gesture towards those who took us to the World Cup," bellowed Trapattoni. "This way we are damaging the national team. Remember that, Italians."
Injury intervened, however, with the initial diagnosis ruling Baggio out of the World Cup.
But as it emerged that Baggio was recuperating quicker than expected Trapattoni moved quickly to stifle any debate by naming his seven attacking players on the eve of last month's friendly with Uruguay in Milan.
It did not work. The campaign went from strength to strength but as Baggio's fans demonstrated outside Italian football federationheadquarters on Wednesday Trapattoni's list finally brought down the curtain on the international career of one of Italy's greatest footballers.
Baggio had scored 27 goals in 55 appearances for the 'Azzurri', his last outing coming in 1999 in the 1-1 draw with Belarus.

Source: Dailysoccer.com
 

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:(
I still can't take in the fact that Baggio will never be playing in the Nazionale again.
 

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Watching the World Cup will never be the same again. That excitement, happiness and thrills that Baggio provided us fans with will not be experienced ever again. Damn Trapattoni for this! He is just too much of a coward to select Baggio. He most likely thinks that Baggio's presence will cause the likes of Totti and Del Piero to feel inferior and thus perform poorly during the tournament. This could be very true but an intelligent coach should be able to turn this into his advantage by making these 3 talents cooperate and play together somehow. Not being able to utilize this great potential is a damn crime and also shows a coach's incompetance. He opted for the coward's way and simply didn't choose Baggio. Too bad for the fans and maybe too bad for Italy. We'll see if the Azzurri really has the luxury to leave such a great player at home. I for one don't think so.

FORZA BAGGIO FOREVER!!! YOU'LL ALWAYS BE IN OUR HEARTS!
 

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Watching the World Cup will never be the same again. That excitement, happiness and thrills that Baggio provided us fans with will not be experienced ever again.
So true, Robigol was born to play in the world cup.
I wished to see it one more time but...
I don't think we'll ever have a #10 like him again.
:depress:
 

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I myself cannot believe this tradgedy, but Trap is the coach and ther is nothing we can do. The great Baggio's goals shall never be forgotten. His clutch performances in all teh World Cups were amazing, it is a shame that he cannot take part in another.

I think thsi will go for most people now: "I will still cheer for Italy, but I will not be as inclined to wake up early too watch the game, and I believe that isn't just for me."

My dad on the exclusion of Roberto Baggio.
 

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I never like Italy, but i like Baggio very much. What a shame! What is wrong with your couch. Well at least Brasil made the same mistake not calling Romario. So yo are not allone. You could cry together after WC. Look Argentina. They will take both Batistuta and Caniggia, well that`s the spirit. I will miss both very much, especially Baggio, couse they are legends and we all will loose, not them. WC could be really emotional with this two. Imagine Batistuta, Romario, Zidane and Baggio, i couldn't decide who to cheer for and what to see. Now i`ll watch Slovenia, France and Argentina and grand finale will be France vs Argentina.
 

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And so it goes that this years World Cup is no longer like one to me.
 

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Thinking, just talking about Roby right now actually gets me depressed. :( I can't continue to discuss it anymore. Don't take my future silence on the matter as disrespect to Baggio. You all know my love for the man. But I just cannot go on dragging myself down, hating Trapp's guts and worrying. I'm moving on from this, but I will never EVER forget it or forgive the Italian Federation for treating their greatest talent ever like crap. So Roby you'll remain in my heart forever (Forza Brescia Lions), but I now must concentrate on this World Cup, our squad and our crappy, prejudiced trainer who is busy licking DiLivio's as$. :fero:
 

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Watching the World Cup will never be the same again:depress:

Thank you Roberto Baggio for those wonderful years of beautiful football.We'll NEVER forget you...

I still can't swollow the fact that Baggio's not going to play for the Azzurri again:cry:...
 

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Baggio still backing Azzurri Thursday 9 May, 2002

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Roberto Baggio has graciously accepted his exclusion from the World Cup squad by wishing the Azzurri luck in the tournament.

The Italian legend was omitted from Giovanni Trapattoni’s 23-man squad yesterday but admitted that he will be supporting the boys in blue.

"The selection went as it did. I may not be part of the squad but I want to wish the players who are going the very best and hopefully they can lift the trophy," he told Italian news outlet TG1.

Baggio was back in training today where he is continuing his rehabilitation programme after he underwent knee ligament surgery earlier this season.

The former Juventus star made a record recovery when he returned to action just 77 days after going under the knife.

His return did come in time to save Brescia from relegation but didn’t do anything for his World Cup prospects.

channel4
 

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Now that Roby's gone I think England will be my number one team. I'm not of Italian origin, but only a Baggio fan.

I will still cheer for Italy unless they get too defensive, like in Euro2000. Actually I was cheering against them in the final against France because they didn't deserve to beat Holland and because I would be saddened if they won without Baggio.

It's sad that Baggio won't go because DP can't perform when he is not the star, same for Totti. Baggio can't be a sub if DP is to play affectively, because fans will chant Baggio's name. DP and Totti are obviously jealous of Roby's popularity. As far as I concerned DP and Totti are still unproven, lets hope Trap made the right decision when he overlooked Baggio.

DP and Totti support Baggio in pulic, but behind closed doors they don't support him.
 

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What's the reason for not taking Baggio, and taking someone like DELVECCHIO?????:eek: :rolleyes: :confused: :devil:

Man, these international managers are just a pain in the @rse!:devil:

Hoddle in 98 not taking Gazza
Zagallo cutting Romario in 98
Feliipao not taking Romario in 98
Maldini leaving Baggio on the BENCH in 98:eek: :eek: :eek:
and now Trapatonni leaving Baggio out:eek:

WHAT A SHAME!:devil: :fero: :fero: :fero:
 

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Although Baggio's magic eliminated Spain from the world cup in 94. I am one of the millions that has been awed for so long by his futbol. I have been used to seeing Baggio in world cups since 90 and just thinking about him not being there and players like Del Vecchio and Inzaghi being there is so upsetting. Hala Baggio !
 

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Baggio tips Vieri for glory Friday 10 May, 2002

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Roberto Baggio has given his views on the Azzurri squad and claims Christian Vieri can lead Italy to World Cup glory.

The Divine Ponytail had hoped to be part of this team, but despite his return to form and full fitness, Giovanni Trapattoni opted to leave Baggio at home.

“I am just thinking about completing my recovery programme,” said the Brescia star. “Nothing more than that. I just want to keep training and achieve the objectives I have set myself.”

“Of course I hoped that things could have gone differently. I worked hard and with diligence with the dream of going to Japan and Korea."

"It didn’t go that way, so I will dedicate myself to being a fan. I'll watch the Azzurri on television and hope they go as far as possible in the tournament.”

This would have been the 35-year-old’s fourth World Cup, but he could still take a plane ticket to the Orient.

“I have been asked to be a commentator in Japan,” he admits, “but for the moment I shall think of playing football. That is my job. I shall just watch the games and let others make the comments.”

When the press continued to push Baggio for a pundit’s opinion on the duel between Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero, the former Juve man came out in favour of a third option.

“For me this could be, no I am sure it will be, the tournament for Christian Vieri. He really deserves it.”

channel4
 

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as i siad earlier in this forum

there will be trouble at the world cup

the great robby baggio and christian vieri have never hidden the fact that they greatly prefer each other to either dle piero or totti

trouble's a brewing

PHUCK TRAPATONI
 

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I think theres something wrong with Trap:rolleyes:

Is there anyone else on the planet that agrees with him on not choosing Baggio?:confused:
 

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Baggio issues new quit threat Saturday 11 May, 2002

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Roberto Baggio has again threatened to retire after losing out on the World Cup, but he may accept a move overseas.

“I admit that I was upset at not being called up for the tournament in Japan and Korea,” commented the 34-year-old, “but I am relaxed.”

“Now I will play a testimonial in memory of Vittorio Mero at Ravenna, then we will see. I am thinking over many things at the moment and in particular one consideration: to retire, as I had said last summer. I had said that at the start of the season, but many things happened in the last 12 months.”

The friendly for his Brescia teammate who tragically died in a car crash earlier this year could be his final match after a remarkable career that spanned Vicenza, Fiorentina, Juventus, Milan, Inter, Bologna and Brescia.

A former World Player of the Year, Baggio has fought back from several major knee injuries and setbacks that would have convinced most other players to retire years ago.

He had threatened to quit football in February when he ruptured knee ligaments, but a world record breaking comeback 77 days after undergoing surgery saw him return to full fitness and rescue Brescia from relegation.

Nonetheless, the lack of the Azzurri incentive appears to have taken the joy out of this fightback.

“Of course I believed that I could be part of the World Cup squad,” added Baggio. “The thought of the Azzurri shirt on my back pushed me on to work hard and get through all the bad things that have happened to me this year.”

His future does not look too bright at the moment. Brescia have another season in Serie A, but he may not wish to continue battling relegation all year round.

Inter President Massimo Moratti intimated at a move back to the San Siro, but with so many stars in the squad Baggio would find himself back on the all too familiar bench.

He has always insisted on playing only in Italy in order to win back a spot in the Azzurri squad, but with that option gone, could Baggio finally accept multi-million pound offers from the Japanese J League?

“I really don’t think so,” smiled the Divine Ponytail.

A new story has emerged from the Turkish press this morning. It is reported that ex-Milan Coach Fatih Terim, who has returned to his former side Galatasaray, wants Baggio to fill the role once held by Gheorghe Hagi.

A two-year contract worth almost £1.4m per season has allegedly been drawn up awaiting his signature.

channel4
 

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Baggio will return to Serie A. I wish he'd quit with the drama. He did this last year. He will return and he will shine above all others like he did this year when he was healthy.
King Italy: Please go easy on us "Yankees" and our soccer program, especially when Australia ain't even qualified. We're working hard on improving.
 

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Trap explains Baggio exclusion Monday 13 May, 2002

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Giovanni Trapattoni has explained, for the last time, why he has not included Roberto Baggio in the World Cup squad.

The Italian legend was not named in the 23-man squad for the 2002 Finals despite recovering in record time from knee ligament surgery to save Brescia from the drop.

"We’ll talk about Baggio today and then from tomorrow we will stop. I will answer no more questions about him from Tuesday onwards," Trapattoni told the Press as Italy started their pre-tournament training.

"He hadn’t had the 4-5 full games under his belt which could have demonstrated that he was in peak form for the tournament," defended the Italy boss.

When asked whether public opinion could turn on him after his decision to shatter Baggio’s Mondiali dreams, Trap remained unfazed.

"I always say that if I’ve got 51 per cent of the support then I’ve won," he added. "But I make my decisions based on my responsibilities as Coach and not in order to make people happy."

Baggio, now 35, has recently again suggested that he could quit the game after failing to fulfil his Azzurri dreams.

But Trap dismissed the claims. "I don’t think that he is really considering calling it a day now," the boss concluded.

The fantasista had always maintained that it was his dream to play in his fourth Finals after scoring in Italia ’90, USA ’94 and France ’98.

channel4
 

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It's funny how Trap mentioned that Baggio needed 4 - 5 games to prove his fitness. Yet he could have gave him a call up against the Czech Republic, thus giving Baggio a fourth game to prove his fitness.

In reality, his excuses aren't the real reasons Baggio isn't on the team.

I thought one of them was his popularity with the fans who would continously chant his name throughout every match.

Another could be the controversy that always seems to surround Baggio would make Trap's job more difficult.

There is probably a lot more reasons
 
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