Ciao, welcome to my much anticipated, mildly anticipated, okay it's been awaited by MJK at least, story. Revolving around, Italy's finest, Roberto Baggio. The man who defined a generation of Italian football fans, and one of my favourite players of all time.
Although I'm famed for writing stories that barely make it past a few pages, this one will *probably* last for a proper length of time. This is Roberto Baggio, his tragedy and triumph, his return.
So as you can probably tell, this story will revolve around the exploits of Roberto Baggio. One of my favourite players to have graced the game of football, Baggio was the definition of a number 10. Renown for his passing ability, vision and creativity. Hailed by Gianna Brera as best Italian footballer he had ever seen, Gianna Agnelli referring to him as an artist, likening his elegance to that of the painter, Raffaello.
He dazzled in the 90s, at USA 94' was a key figure as Italy made it to the final, a significant overachievement at the time. But the cruelty of football was no stranger to the Divine Ponytail, as Baggio missed the decisive penalty to hand Brazil the trophy for a then record fourth time. That may have been his defining moment in the eyes of many, but it was the first, nor the last slice of bad luck to befall the Italian. Serious leg injuries hampered his career as well as disagreements with coaches, particularly Marcello Lippi.
He has taken the step into management at 49, late by some standards. He takes charge at one of his former clubs, now languishing in Serie B...
Brescia, the final club of his career. Baggio turned out 95 times in Serie A for the Biancoazzurri, scoring 45 times. Whilst helping them to two top half finishes and an Intertoto Cup runner up spot.
Having narrowly avoided relegation to Lega Pro in 2014/15, the Little Swallows improved to register an 11th place finish in 2015/16. Since their relegation from Serie A in 2005, they were promoted in 2010 but went straight back down after an 18th place finish in the 2010/11 season. Their best showing since being a 6th place finish in 2012/13.