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Gabriel Batistuta
Personal information
Full name Gabriel Omar Batistuta
Date of birth 1 February 1969 (1969-02-01) (age 51)
Place of birth    Avellaneda, Santa Fe, Flag of Argentina Argentina
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Striker
Nationality Flag of Argentina Argentinian
Club information
Current club Retired
Youth clubs
1987-1988 Flag of Argentina Newell's Old Boys
Senior clubs
Years Club App (Gls)
1988-1989
1989-1990
1990-1991
1991-2000
2000-2003
2003
2003-2005
Total
Flag of Argentina Newell's Old Boys
Flag of Argentina River Plate
Flag of Argentina Boca Juniors
Flag of Italy Fiorentina
Flag of Italy Roma
Flag of Italy Inter Milan
Flag of Qatar Al-Arabi
016 0(4)
019 0(3)
030 0(13)
0269 0(167)
063 0(30)
012 0(2)
021 0(25)
0430 0(244)   
National team
1991-2002 Flag of Argentina Argentina 0077 00(54)

Gabriel Omar Batistuta (born 1 February 1969) is an Argentinian retired professional footballer. During his playing career, Batistuta was nicknamed Batigol as well as El Ángel Gabriel; Spanish for Angel Gabriel). Regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation, noted in particular for powerful strikes from volleys or from distance while on the run, in 1999, Batistuta placed third for the FIFA World Player of the Year award. In 2004 he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.

After beginning his career in Argentina in 1988 with Newell's Old Boys, followed by River Plate and Boca Juniors where he won titles, the prolific striker played most of his club football with Serie A club Fiorentina in Italy; he is their all-time top scorer in Serie A with 152 goals. When Fiorentina was relegated to Serie B in 1993, Batistuta stayed with the club and helped them return to the top-flight league a year later. He became an icon in Florence; the Fiorentina fans erected a life-size bronze statue of him in 1996, in recognition of his performances for the club. Despite winning the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana with the club in 1996, he never won the Serie A title with Fiorentina, but when he moved to Roma in 2000 for €36 million – then the highest fee ever paid for a player over the age of 30 – he won the 2000-01 Serie A title. After a brief loan spell with Inter Milan in 2003, he played his last two seasons in Qatar with Al-Arabi before he retired in 2005.

At international level, Batistuta was Argentina's all-time leading goalscorer with 54 goals in 77 official matches, a record he held until 21 June 2016, when he was surpassed by Lionel Messi. He participated in three FIFA World Cups, scoring 10 goals, making him Argentina's all-time top scorer in the competition, and the joint eighth-highest World Cup goalscorer of all time. Batistuta is the only player in football history to score two hat-tricks in different World Cups. With the Argentina national team he won two consecutive Copa América titles (1991 and 1993), the 1993 Artemio Franchi Trophy, and the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Early and personal life

Batistuta was born on 1 February 1969 to slaughterhouse worker Omar Batistuta and school secretary Gloria Zilli, in the town of Avellaneda, province of Santa Fe, Argentina, but grew up in the near city of Reconquista. He has three younger sisters, Elisa, Alejandra, and Gabriela. Batistuta is a Roman Catholic. At the age of 16, he met Irina Fernández, his future wife, at her quinceañera, a rite of passage on her 15th birthday. On 28 December 1990, they were married at Saint Roque Church.

The couple moved to Florence, Italy, in 1991, and a year later their first son, Thiago, was born. Thanks to good performances in the Italian championship and with the Argentina national team, Batistuta gained fame and respect. He filmed several commercials and was invited onto numerous TV shows, but in spite of this, Batistuta always remained a low-profile family man. In 1997, Batistuta's second son, Lucas, was born, and a third son, Joaquín, followed in 1999. He now has a fourth son Shamel. In 2000, Batistuta and his family moved to Rome, where he played for Roma. Two years after Shamel was born, Batistuta was loaned to Inter. In 2003, after 12 years in Italy, the family moved to Qatar where Batistuta had accepted a lucrative celebrity playing contract with a local team, Al-Arabi, ending his career there in 2005. He moved back to Argentina in 2007.

Despite having completed his coaching badges in Argentina, he currently has no involvement with football, instead (primarily as he has difficulty walking) he prefers to play polo and golf, he was quoted saying 'I don't like football, it's only my job'. In later interviews with FIFA he expanded, “I lived and breathed football”, adding, “when I was playing football I never enjoyed it that much, I was never happy ... if I scored two goals, I wanted a third, I always wanted more. Now it's all over I can look back with satisfaction, but I never felt that way when I was playing.” In 2006 he expressed an interest in coaching Australia's national team and Argentina's team. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup he worked as a commentator for Televisa Deportes. Batistuta currently runs his own construction company in Argentina. He also worked as technical secretary in the professional football club Colón, joining the club's staff in January 2012, and leaving at the end of the 2012–13 season.

Batistuta was given the freedom of Florence (home of Fiorentina where he played for nine years) in 2016.

Speaking in a television interview in Argentina in 2014, Batistuta said the pain suffered in his ankles after retiring in 2005 became so intense that he "urinated in bed with the toilet only a few steps away. I couldn't move." He visited a doctor he knew asking his legs be amputated, but the doctor turned down his request. Although he later underwent surgery to relieve the pressure on his cartilage and tendons, and his condition improved slightly, in a 2017 interview he stated that he still had difficulty walking and faced mobility issues as a result of the stresses and injuries he faced throughout his football career due to overexerting himself. He has however still been able to take part in charity football games, and in 2014 he scored twice – one a trademark finish with a powerful 35 yard strike into the roof of the net – in a game in Italy.

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