God exists and he has a “Codino”. His name is Roberto Baggio.

Author Marco Capone contributor
Amount of Images 0 Immagini
Calendar 05/07/2019
Time passed Tempo di lettura 5 min

Caldogno, a suburb of Vicenza with a population of tenthousand; on 18 February 1967 at 6.15 pm. Roberto Baggio is born: the “Divin Codino”, the man for whom everyone, and I mean everyone, had high football hopes and who made people dream for more than twenty years.

Yes, because Roberto Baggio really united the whole of Italy. When people talked about him it didn’t matter if he played for Milan, Juventus or Inter: he was only Roby Baggio. Everyone wanted his codino – I admit I was one of them, too – as fashion had it in the early 1990s: the “codino like Roby Baggio”, to feel a little more like him, a little more the champion.


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«God exist and he has a ‘Codino’»
“Historic” banner at the San Siro

Roberto’s story (as the journalist Bruno Pizzul called him, omitting his surname) is that of a man on whose future everyone had given up after a knee surgery at the beginning of his career, but who instead got up several times, managing to win even the Ballon d’Or in 1993.

In a Vicenza-Rimini match at the end of the championship, he badly injured his lower hamstrings. Some players who reported the same prognosis had to abandon the field forever. Roby, on the other hand, does not: he believes he can do it, and returns. Shortly after that he will move to Fiorentina.

The knee gives way again, but he does not: he approaches Buddhism, which will help him throughout his career. In Florence he plays for 5 years, teaming up with Stefano Borgonovo: the “B2” becomes the most cherished striking pair ever for Viola fans. While playing for Fiorentina he represented Italy, and for several years the national team will dream in magical nights with his dribbles, assists and goals.

«Only those who have the courage to take penalties miss them»
Some journalists after he missed in Pasadena

We will never forget his tears in ’94, after his penalty soared over Taffarel’s crossbar. But no one ever dared to point the finger at Roberto, no one ever criticized his mistake: his talent was never at stake, ever.


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At Juventus he consecrates himself, becoming the Italian answer to Diego Armando Maradona: a superb talent, a speed of thought superior to others. Sold for a pharaonic 25 billion by Fiorentina, in Turin he was also presented with a villa in the hills and a Ferrari Testa Rossa.

«No coach should keep Baggio on the bench»
Evaristo Beccalossi

After his heir Alex Del Piero exploded, Baggio moved to Milan and played for the Rossoneri (Milan). Two tormented years, full of ups and downs. His relationship with Capello does not work well and the boy from Caldogno is not in the starting line-up.

In Bologna Baggio is again reborn, in every sense: he removes his long hair, and the codino with it. He scores 22 goals in 30 games under manager Renzo Ulivieri and takes back the Italian national team by participating in the 1998 World Cup in France. Yet again, however, he is Del Piero’s substitute. He will play an amazing world cup, scoring a crazy goal in extra time against France, before going out again on penalties, after Di Biagio’s mistake.


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«Baggio is a snowfall that dropped from an open door in the Sky»
Lucio Dalla

Then comes the time for Inter under Marcello Lippi, with whom he will never fully get on. The last stage of his career is yet again a great revival: Brescia, a provincial town. The historical Codino returns and with its look also the magical skills. He will score many goals and also celebrate his 200-goals landmark. He will save the “Rondinelle” from Serie B thanks to Carletto Mazzone, who will be able to get the best out of his number ten.
In the spring of 2002, his knee broke once more and he returned to the field after only six weeks, still saving his team. The nation is divided: should Trapattoni call him for the World Cup or not?

Aldo Biscardi’s scream live still thunders in my head: “Baggio, Baggio, Baggio!”. Unforgettable. Trapattoni, however, will leave him at home despite popular acclaim.

He closes his career in 2004, wearing Brescia’s jersey at San Siro, among the thunderous applause and the tears of his fans; he had managed to create a special relationship with each of us. Roberto Baggio was legend, poetry, music: it truly is  “no longer Sunday” since the Divin Codino stopped playing, as Cesare Cremonini sings.

«Those who make continuous efforts are always full of hope. Embrace your dreams and follow them. The daily heroes are the ones who always give their best in life» Roberto Baggio

Cover picture by Roberto Knoch/Contrasto

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