On 18 February 1967, Roby was born in Caldogno, a small town in the northern part of Vicenza, Italy. He loved soccer so much that he couldn't live without it during his childhood.
At the beginning of Roby's junior career, he already became a shinning star after just a few matches, during which he always scored goals. At the end of a match, in which he had 6 goals, scout Antonio Mora persuaded him to join Serie C team Vicenza.Vicenza
Under coach Cad, Baggio didn't have many chances to play in his new team, and his first season just went by quietly.
In the next season, a new coach arrived, he gave Roby more opportunities to play, for this Roby gave his first career goal to Bruno Giorgi as a present, thanked him for placing such an importance on him, and his great performance caught the attention of the under 16 national team coach, who called him to represent his country for the first time.
The 84-85 season, Baggio kept his good form and scored 12 goals in 29 league games, and helped Vicenza to reach Serie B for the coming season. But Roby went a step further to Serie A and joined Fiorentina.Fiorentina
Baggio finished his first season in Fiorentina quietly and didn't play in any Serie A game.
His first Serie A appearance came in the next season, in the match against Sampdoria on 21 September 1986. On 10 May 1987, he scored his first Serie A goal in the match against Napoli. Although he hurt his knee during this season, he fully recovered in the next and got 9 goals for the team, which earned him his first national team cap in November 1988, to play against Holland in Rome, the nation's capital. At the end of the season, Roby married his long-term girl friend Andreina.
The following season, Baggio finished beautifully with 17 goals in 32 league matches. He also took the team to the final of UEFA Cup, but in which they were beaten by Juventus. Ironically, the old ladies from Turin signed Roby with a world record transfer fee of US$17 million at the end of the season, which caused riots on the street in Florence, as Fiorentina fans were furious about the club's decision to sell their hero.1990 FIFA World Cup Italia
Roby's great form gave him a place in Azeglio Vicini's Italian national team in World Cup '90, but the coach did not use him in Italy's first and second matches. But the reluctant 1-0 win in both matches led to the coach's decision to change, and in the last group match, he placed Roby and his future Juventus teammate Schillaci up front against Czechoslovakia, and Roby scored one of the greatest solo goals in World Cup history to help Italy to win by 2 goals.
After that Italy went all the way to the semi-final, against reigning World Cup champions Argentina. Coach Vicini placed Roby on the bench, the reason was that he looked tired, but Roby rebutted by saying "I am 23! I will be eating grass and play." With no effect, he only went on as a substitute in the second half. Italy scored first but later conceded their first goal in the tournament, and the score remained leveled after 120 minutes, it all came down to the penalty shootout. Roby scored in his turn, but the Argentine goalkeeper saved the vital kick from Serena, and Italy could only compete for third place.
In the third place match against England, Roby scored one, and the score was 2-2 until Italy won a penalty, Roby could have taken himself, but he decided to let Schillaci to take it, so that he could be the top scorer of the tournament, and to no one's disappointment, he scored and the tournament reached a happy ending for the host nation.Juventus
Baggio had a good start in Juventus, he scored 14 goals in 33 league games. On 2 December, his wife gave birth to their first child, Valentina. In the next season, Roby played in 32 Serie A matches and got 18 goals.
92-93 season was Roby's best season in Juventus, he scored 21 times in 27 league games. He also captained Juventus to play in the UEFA Cup, he got 6 goals in 9 matches, including 5 in the semi-final and final, and led the team to glory.
The following season, Roby scored his 100th Serie A goal in the match against Genoa. In December, he was named both the FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or European Footballer of the Year. Baggio scored 17 goals in 32 league matches this season. In May 1994, shortly before the World Cup, he and his wife welcomed their second child, Mattia.1994 FIFA World Cup USA
In World Cup '94, Roby was quiet during the group stage, and in the match against Norway, when Italy's goalkeeper was sent off, to everyone's surprise, coach Sacchi decided to substitute Roby out when they had to bring in a backup goalkeeper.
During the knockout stage, Roby's excellent goals against Nigeria, Spain and Bulgaria took the team to their first World Cup final since they won it in 1982. But Roby hurt his thigh during the semi-final, and it was so serious that the doctor even recommended him not to play in the final. But he didn't want to disappoint his supporters, so he ignored and went into the field again. However, his injury affected his performance, and the extremely hot weather was not helping Italy in any way, but they still managed to hold the score at 0-0 with great effort in 120 minutes.
Then there came the famous penalty shootout, Italy were already behind when Roby stepped forward to take his turn, given his injury and fatigue, as well as the extremely huge pressure, he missed the vital kick and handed the trophy to their opponents. Because of this and what happened during the group stage, his relation with Sacchi had been deteriorated since then.Juventus
With recurring injury, Roby only 8 goals in 17 matches in the season immediately after the World Cup, Juventus did win both Serie A and Coppa Italia, but given the rising importance of youngster Del Piero, coach Lippi decided to build the team around him, and the management forced Roby to take a huge 1/3 decrease in salary, given the lower importance in the team and lack of respect from the management, he decided to leave. Both Milan teams expressed their interest in him, and on 6 July, he chose the Rossoneri, AC Milan.AC Milan
Under coach Capello, Roby was not at the core of the squad, he played in 28 matches but only got 7 goals. In spite of this, he scored the Serie A winning penalty against Fiorentina at the San Siro Stadium, which brought home his second scudetto in style.
Capello left in the next season, and Taberez arrived, but that didn't change the status of Roby in the team, and the reigning champion performed poorly. To Roby, things went even worse when Milan brought Sacchi back as coach, to no one's surprise, Roby decided to leave the team at the end of the season, and to prove himself, he chose a medium-size team, Bologna, on 18 July 1997.Bologna
No more ponytail, Roby proved to the world that his move to Bologna was in all the way correct. He regained his form with great support from his teammates. Roby finished this season with 22 goals, the highest mark in a single season in his career. Because of this, he caught the attention of Inter Milan again, and he joined the Nerazzurri after World Cup '98.1998 FIFA World Cup France
Due to injuries of Del Piero, Roby got the chance to start the opening match against Chile, during which he superbly made a first time pass to his offensive partner Christian Vieri, who went on to score the opening goal of the match before Chile scored twice to take the lead. Later on Roby won a penalty for Italy, forgot about the disappointment 4 years ago, Roby shot the ball calmly pass the Chilean goalkeeper and made the final result 2-2. Roby continued to shine in the next 2 group matches, with one assist and one goal.
With the recovery of Del Piero, coach Cesare Maldini put Roby back into the bench. In the quarter-final match against host nation France, Italy was under pressure throughtout the whole match, and not until the second half that Cesare Maldini decided to substitute Roby into the field, he nearly scored a golden goal during extra time when he was unmark inside the box, but only to see his shot a few centimeters across the face of the goal. Score remained 0-0 after extra time, and for the third consecutive World Cup, Roby's Italy had to face the cruelty of penalty shootout again. Roby took his one with cool, but the huge pressure landed on his teammates and Italy were out of the tournament again in shootout.Inter Milan
Given Roby's marvellous Bologna season and World Cup '98 tournament, many people expected him to continue the good form in Inter, and with another phenomenon Ronaldo, Roby could build a lethal partnership with the Brazilian. But injuries of Roby, Ronaldo, Zamorano and Ventola totally broke down Inter's forward line, they hardly had many chances playing together, and therefore the team's overall performance was disappointing, the start of the season was a dismay.
Roby did shine in a few occasions, especially during the Champions League group stage match against Real Madrid at the San Siro Stadium, during which he scored the winning goals to give a huge boost to the team and their supporters. But at the end, results said it all, they were only 8th place in Serie A, beaten by Parma in Coppa Italia, and was knocked out by eventual champions Manchester United in Champions League.
The next season, Inter reinforce their forward line with the acquisition of Vieri, but at the same time they brought in Lippi as coach. As expected, Roby's appearance was limited, he didn't only lose his form but also a National Team place in the EURO 2000 tournament, during which the Italians lost in the final to the French.
Overall, this season might be again disappointing, but Roby did a wonderful job in his last match for the team, as he scored two brilliant goals in the Champions League play-off match against Parma. After that he was eventually out of contract with Inter on 30 June.Brescia
After a 4-month consideration, Roby finally made a decision in September 2000 to join newly promoted club Brescia, mainly due to the fact that he could have much more playing opportunities than he could with bigger clubs, also it is close to his home in Vicenza.
During the first 3 seasons in Brescia, Roby captained the team to stay in Serie A at the end of all 3 seasons, and he scored 33 goals in 70 league games over the span. The main reason for his success was the understanding and trust he got from experienced coach Carlo Mazzone, as well as supports from his teammates, that included Spanish great Guardiola, who once showed his respect by handing him the captain's armband when Roby came on from the bench.
The 2003/2004 season was Baggio's final season as a player, as he led Brescia to a historic 4th consecutive stay in Serie A. He scored his 200th Serie A goal in the match against Parma on 14 March 2004, after which he received a standing ovation from all the spectators at Parma's home ground, a great honour to a great soccer player.
As a pride Italian, Roby got the chance to play for his country for one last chance, in the friendly match against Spain on 28 April 2004, during which he was handed the captaincy in the second half.
Baggio played his final match on 16 May 2004, against an AC Milan team led by his former teammate and good friend Paolo Maldini. When he was being substituted in the second half, everyone inside the stadium, all the players, coaches and staffs, as well as all the spectators at the San Siro Stadium gave him the biggest standing ovation to farewell one of the greatest soccer player in soccer history.
The story ends here, but his legendary career will live forever in the heart of all soccer fans.
This is Roberto Baggio...