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10 facts about Roma's Scudetto-winning striker


How much do you know about Gabriel Batistuta? On the day he celebrates his 47th birthday, Roma remembers its Hall of Fame striker with 10 facts about the Argentinian...

1. Born in 1969 in Avellaneda, Argentina, Batistuta did not develop an interest in football early on. Instead, he played basketball from an early age until the 1978 FIFA World Cup when his passion for football started developing after seeing Argentina win the tournament.

2. After starting his career in 1988 with Newell's Old Boys, he played for River Plate and Boca Juniors before making his move to Serie A in 1991, where he really began to flourish as a goalscorer.

3. Nicknamed 'Batigoal', 'El Ángel Gabriel' and the 'Lion King', Gabriel is the eleventh highest scorer in Serie A history with 184 goals in 318 matches with Roma, Fiorentina and Inter Milan.

4. Diego Maradona once stated that Batistuta is the best striker he had ever seen play the game.

5. Batistuta is also Argentina's all-time leading goalscorer, with 56 goals in 78 matches and having played in three World Cups. In 1999, Batistuta finished third in the FIFA World Player of the Year awards and in 2004 he was named by Pele in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.

6. When Fiorentina were relegated to Serie B in 1993, Batistuta stayed with the club and helped it return to the Italian top-flight a year later. A legend in Florence, the Fiorentina fans erected a life-size bronze statue of him in 1996.

7. In 2000, he was transferred to Roma and signed a 3-year contract. The fee paid for Batistuta remains the highest fee ever paid for a player over the age of 30.

8. In his first season with Roma, he fired the club to their first Scudetto win since 1983, scoring 20 goals in 28 appearances. The following season with Roma, he changed his shirt number from 18 to 20 in reference to the number of goals he had scored during the Scudetto-winning campaign. He then wore his age on the back of his Roma jersey in 2002, number 33. In 2015, Batistuta was enshrined in the AS Roma Hall of Fame.

9. After 3 seasons at Roma, he was loaned to Inter Milan, and then left Italy to join Al Arabi in Qatar before retiring. In Qatar, he broke the record for most goals scored in a season with 25, a record that was previously held by Qatari legend Mansour Muftah.

10. After retiring, he moved to Perth, Australia, but moved back to Argentina in 2007. Despite earning his coaching badges in Argentina, he currently has no involvement with football. Instead, he prefers to play polo and golf. He was once quoted as saying, 'I don't like football, it's only my job.' He currently runs his own construction company in Argentina.