Far from all top-class attackers manage to show high performance both in the club and in the national team,
but Gabriel Batistuta, who was shining in the 90s of the last century, successfully performed on both fronts.
In the nine years he spent at Fiorentina, Batigol became the top scorer in the history of this club,
and soon set a similar record as part of albiselesta,
moreover, in the latter case he was the first footballer who managed to overcome the 50-goal mark.
Perhaps the fate of Batistuta would have been completely different if it were not for the two accidents that radically changed his life in childhood and adolescence. The fact is that originally Gabriel wanted to become a basketball player, but, impressed with the performance of Mario Kempes at the 1978 World Cup, he signed up for the football section. Gradually, he began to make progress and in the end, as part of the Platense youth team, he won the provincial championship, making a double in the decisive match against the Newell’s Old Boys.
At that time, the Newells main team was coached by none other than Marcelo Bielsa, who traveled around the country in search of new talents, and it was at his insistence that the future albiselesta record holder signed a professional contract with the club from Rosario. However, the rising star did not stay in Rosario for a long time – at first, one of the Argentinean grand guards took Batistuta, and then picked up another. Speaking at Boke under the direction of Oscar Washington Tabares, Batistuta was finally able to reveal her potential and got a note to European clubs.
Batistuta2 “Fiorentina” showed the greatest perseverance and interest, whose vice-president specially came to Argentina to look at the wonder-goleador and after the America’s Cup-1991 gave the nod to its acquisition. In Florence, the Argentinean spent nine seasons, experiencing ups and downs, including a flight to Serie B in the 1992/93 season, along with “violets”. On his return to the elite of the Calcio, he became the top scorer of the championship with 26 goals and casually broke Ezio Paskutti’s record for 30 years, hitting the opponents’ goal in eleven games in a row.
By that time, Batistuta had already outgrown the level of Fiorentina and in the summer of 1997 was one step away from finally moving into a superclub that sets the highest goals for itself. The management of Barcelona was very interested in the services of Batigol, but the then blue-pomegranate head coach Louis van Gaal was totally opposed. As a result, Barça took the Brazilian Sonny Anderson, and Gabriel had to wait another three years before he went “on the rise.”
And although his sale in Roma was caused by Fiorentina’s desire to improve its shaky financial situation, rather than concern for the future of a football player, such a move proved mutually beneficial: Batistuta4, speaking for Roma, Batistuta added his long-awaited Scudetto, which in Florence he could only dream. True, the next season, the performance of Batigol abruptly went down (six goals against twenty-five), and by the end of 2002 it became clear that it would not last long afloat. The semi-annual rental at Inter looked like something of an honorable exile from which he had never returned …
By that time, Batistuta completed her performances for the Argentina national team, which debuted at the end of June 1991, when she held a friendly match with Brazil in preparation for the America’s Cup. In the first match, he failed to open an account for goals for Albiselest, but at the tournament he sold out in earnest and eventually excelled in a dispute between scorers with six goals, the Colombia actually brought the honorary trophy to the Argentines. Two years later, Batistuta scored two times less, but, again, it was his double in the decisive fight with the Mexicans that helped Argentina to defend the title of champion of South America.
In the qualifying round of the 1994 World Cup, the talented forward saved his team completely from national shame: thanks to his goal, albiselesta defeated the stubborn Australians in the return play-off and reached the final of the world championship. In the USA, Gabriel was hit with a hat-trick in the very first match, but after the disqualification Maradona somehow wilted and later was remembered only by a goal against Romania.
The next world championships, Batigol could not have gotten at all, since the new coach of the Argentine national team, Daniel Passarella, unlike Alfio Basile, did not have much sympathy for him since his work at River Plate, where he frankly marinated the young talent on the bench spare. In the national team, Batistuta also did not win the favor of the head coach, nevertheless, Batistuta5 regularly appeared on the field at the group stage of the 1998 World Cup, scoring a total of five goals (a hat-trick to the gates of Jamaica and the Japanese and English once in a while). However, in the quarterfinal with Holland, Passarella hastened to replace the best scorer of the championship with one of his protégés – Hernan Crespo, and as a result the albiselestest ended the fight at this stage of the draw.