Answer is very simple I simply adore him.
I thinks now its time that I tell you guys who and what Roberto Baggio is and was. It was 1994 and world cup was just knocking on the doors. I heard the world cup that time was gonna take plac in USA and every friend of mine wanted to support brazil because their dad and grand dad supports brazil or at times Argentina. Well that’s how basically people in Kolkata follow football at that point of time.
So any way I was not really sure whom to support because I haven’t seen any of these teams playing football and basically I didn’t knew much about football at that point of time. It was only that world cup was here and mom said if I don’t chose a team then I will really miss the fun of world cup.
So few days later I just accidentally came across a football journal and was turning the pages when I saw this young guy who was looking like a dude and read about how he scored against Czechoslovakia in 1990 world cup. I was still not decided but well I was a kid of 12 years and I was thinking why don’t I support him. At least he looks decent enough to support. Well from that day onwards was my devotion for Roberto came up and then came the first round of world cup 94. Actually I missed all the first 3 matches. It was hard for a 12 years old kid to wake up till midnight and watch football. So before the pre quarterfinal I heard that Italy was doing really badly and Roberto is yet to open scoring and they just qualified for the pre-quarterfinals.
So this time I decided I wont sleep. I woke up till 12 am in night and then I witnessed the first World Cup match of my life against Italy and Nigeria. And guess what Nigeria scored in the first half. Leading 1-0 I was literally worried. 2nd half arrived and still italy was far from scoring a goal. Time ticked away and though italy had a huge ball possession in the 2nd half goal was not yet happening from them.
I still remember it was like in the very dying minutes of the game some where in the injury time this beautify one touch game developed between many of the Italian greats who were there in the field and then a cross in ground came to baggio and wacK!!!!!
I still remember the headlines in The Statesman next day which read like “ The Sleeping Little giant Awakes”. Italy was back and Roby scored and from here started the eternal journey of mine to follow this guy’s football like a faithful devotee. Italy won the Nigeria match with another goal from penalty from baggio again in the extra time.
From here onwards Roberto was a wizard with the ball. Against Espana he scored literally from a zero angle after he dodged zubezaratte and then against Bulgaria it was two marvelous goals from this little wizard.
But then again the match against Brazil was a downward plunge for Roby. It only showed that Roberto baggio is a human and nothing else. If you ask me well every player misses penalty only the moment is different. Roby was also in the same aspect. And yet if Roberto had scored a goal from the penalty there was still bebeto’s last penalty waiting. So in all greats like Franco Baresi and Roberto Donadoni and Massaro has missed penalty so why not Roby. But any way it tool people only 1 sec to forget that this man alone single handedly has carried an aged Italian Team in 94’s World Cup.
Ny way after that what happened is history and the world still remains as the witness to the greatness of this footballer. Well the very fact that makes this guy great is his ability to fight on against all the odds. A true football genius in himself he showed great character when he came back even after been stowed in store with some of his brilliant performances with Bologna and Bresica.
Well people say Roberto was never able to win the most coveted world cup but for me it was not the award of this player that stole my heart and made me pray to and for him. It was just those beautiful moments that he created on the fields that gave me immense pleasure to watch him play. It was his great character for which he made the come back in 1998 from bologna that made me worship him. It was his masterful craftsmanship while dealing with 3 defenders which made me go crazy……it was so many things this player offered in his life time that we smile upon and we cry upon …..
But even this day whenever I sit in front of my TV to watch Football I just wonder if I will ever see a striker like him who was not like a locomotive engine but slippery like a feather, if I will ever see a player who can do an instep and the out step and again an in step and an out step then a flipper and score a goal which can be picture perfect and looks like bold brush strokes of Van Gogh in canvas.
Yes the football for me is over. I don’t see any Roberto Baggio in field today who can create that amount of wildness and pleasure in my heart to watch him play. Neither do I see anyone who can take his place.
Well there will be many weather of football that is yet to come and many that have gone. I guess I had just lived my weather and saw this man painted in his war paints which now has gone gray with the sun setting in the horizon.
Some players are just born to play….they are never supposed to be judged with win or loss. They just play and play with a godly grace……I think it calls for respect from all football lovers