Gabriel Batistuta Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
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Born on February 1, 1969, Gabriel Batistuta is a former Argentine prolific football striker. Best known as El Angel Gabriel, or Batigol, he started his professional football career in 1988 in Argentina and since played for clubs like Newell’s Old Boys, River Plates, Borca Juniors and Florentina where he spent most of his footballing career. The skillful and talented player’s career in Italy was flamboyant as Gabriel Batistuta became the all-time high top scorer for Fiorentina having scored 184 goals in 318 matches. This also Batistuta made him the 12th all-time highest scorer in the Italian Serie A.
In 1993 when Fiorentina was relegated to Serie B, Gabriel Batistuta still stayed with the club to help it return to the Serie A the following year. During his years with the club, Gabriel Batistuta won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana in 1996 but never won the Italian league.
In 2000, Gabriel Batistuta joined AS Roma where he won the League with the club. El Angel Gabriel Batistuta was loaned to Inter Milan in 2003 but was unsuccessful there and moved to Al Arabi in Qatar where he retired in 2005. Aside from club football, Gabriel Batistuta became an integral part of the Argentine national team and until 2016; Gabriel Batistuta was the Argentines all-time leading scorer with 56 goals in 78 official matches. Playing in three World Cups with ten goals in all, Gabriel Batistuta became Argentina’s top scorer in that competition and made history by becoming the only player to score a hat-trick in different World Cups.
Gabriel Batistuta was born on February 1, 1969, in Avellaneda, Santa Fe, Argentina to Omar Batistuta and Gloria Zilli. His father was a slaughterhouse worker and his mother a school secretary. Gabriel Batistuta had three other sisters Elisa, Alejandra and Gabriela and grew up near the city of Reconquista. Growing up, Gabriel Batistuta was more into sports like basketball because of his height and others but not football.
Gabriel Batistuta only gained interest in football after Argentina won the 1978 FIFA World Cup being particularly impressed with the skills of Mario Kempes. He then started playing on the streets with his friends and in the Grupo Alegria club. Gabriel Batistuta later joined the Platense junior team where he was selected for the Reconquista team, which played against Newell’s Old Boys to win the provincial championship.
After scoring two goals against Newell’s Old Boys in the provincial championship, Gabriel Batistuta caught the team and was signed in 1988. His first year with Newell’s was marked with difficulties as he was away from home and the family. Gabriel Batistuta also had weight issues, and that slowed his game. After spending a year with the team, Gabriel Batistuta was loaned to Deportivo Italiano of Buenos Aires and participated with them in the Carnevale Cup in Italy scoring three goals to earn the top scorer.
River Plate And Boca Junior
Gabriel Batistuta made a giant move to Argentine club River Plate in mid-1989. He scored an impressive 17 goals during the season, but after a new coach, Daniel Passarella took over, he was redrawn from the first team. Though Batistuta said he had no dispute with the coach, Passarella later stated that "when Batistuta finds a team that will be able to play to him he will be lethal." Gabriel Batistuta joined River Plate’s arch rivals, Boca Juniors in 1990 where he struggled at the initial stage. Gabriel Batistuta was able to find his feet with the support of coach Oscar Tabarez, who placed him in a position that fits his play, the center of attack. That season, Gabriel Batistuta became the top scorer, and Boca won the championship.
Gabriel Batistuta put on an impressive performance during the 1991 Copa America, playing for the Argentine team and was sighted by the vice-president of Fiorentina who signed him to the team. Gabriel Batistuta had an impressive debut with Fiorentina scoring 13 goals at the end of the season. Although Gabriel Batistuta increased his goal tally in the 1992-1993 season, Fiorentina could not survive the Serie A and was relegated to the Serie B. Nonetheless, Gabriel Batistuta remained with the club and contributed to their return to the Serie A the following year having scored 16 goals to contribute to winning the Serie B title.
Gabriel Batistuta picked his scoring boots in the 1995-1995 Serie A season scoring 26 goals to become the top scorer. That season, he broke Ezio Pascutti’s 30-year-old record after scoring in all the first 11 matches. The 1996-1996 season was very promising for Fiorentina, and even though it could not win the league title, the team placed fourth with Batistuta, Francesco Baiano and Manuel Rui Costa helping the team to go 15 matches unbeaten. In that season, he helped the club to win the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana. Since his dream was to win the Scudetto, Gabriel Batistuta at this time was in search for a bigger club with a high rate of winning the league, and this led him to Roma
After an unsuccessful attempt by Fiorentina to win the 1999-2000 season and subsequent elimination from the Champions League, Gabriel Batistuta left the club to join Roma in a 3-year deal worth 70 billion lire and a personal earning of 14.8 billion Italian lire per year before tax. His personal fee became the highest paid to a player over 30 years. His move was considered just right as Roma won the 2000-2001 Serie A and that was the first since 1983. Gabriel Batistuta scored 20 goals that season is making him change his jersey number from 18 to 20 to reflect his goals.
Inter And Qatar
Gabriel Batistuta began to battle with series of injuries, which affected his performance. With his form declining, he was loaned from Roma to Inter Milan. At Inter he still struggled with his form scoring just two goals in 12 matches. He then sought for an unsuccessful deal to Fulham in England but finally moved to Al-Arabi in Qatar in a deal worth $8 million. While there he made a record by scoring 25 goals to beat Qatari legend, Mansour Muftah for most goals scored. H Batistuta retired from football in 2005 due to injuries.
Gabriel Batistuta made an international debut in 1991 as a member of the Argentine team for that year's Copa America in Chile. With six goals, Gabriel Batistuta became the tournament top scorer with Argentina winning the cup. He was part of the Argentine team that won the FIFA Confederation Cup in 1992 becoming the tournament’s top scorer and helped the team to win the 1993 tournament held in Ecuador. Gabriel Batistuta was in the Argentina team for 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cup scoring hat tricks in the 1994 and 1998 tournaments. Gabriel Batistuta then became the first player to score a hat-trick in two World Cups. He retired from international football after the 2002 World Cup.
After retiring from football, Gabriel Batistuta redrew from football even though he had done coaching courses and had received badges in Argentina. Gabriel Batistuta is more into golf and polo saying 'I don't like football, it's only my job.' He has established a construction company in Argentina. Gabriel Batistuta is said to have submitted a CV to Cape Town City F.C, a Premier Soccer League team in South Africa in 2017 after the team’s coach Eric Tinkler left for Supersport United.
Gabriel Batistuta has been married to Irina Fernandez since December 28, 1990, at the Saint Roque Church. The couple currently has four children, Thiago, Lucas, Joaquin, and Shamel. Despite his successful football career, he prefers to remain on a low-key being a family man.