We found Batistuta in the Franchi Stadium locker-
rooms, place that has become Bati's home away from
home. The training session just finished. But today
we won't be talking about tactical moves or any other
soccer moves. Today Bati in his undisputed kingdom
will talk about those emotional moments he has lived
and those he's living.
Batistuta and soccer...
Have your rapport toward the sport changed?
"No, the years have not changed what I feel toward the
sport. But the soccer has changed a lot throughout
the years. I continue to play and I have fun while
doing it, and what's most important I'm helping my
team to keep on going. There's also new objectives.
At first the matches ended with the referee's whistle,
not any more. You have to keep getting better, you
have to work very hard. It's very difficult to please
everyone, it's impossible. You can not please
everyone of the 40,000 fans in the stadium. But we
have to do our best, we are professionals, we get
paid, so we have to do whatever is needed".
Batistuta, Florence & the Fiorentines....
Do the ideas you had when you first arrived, were they
proven to be right?
"When I first arrived in Italy I thought that if I
wanted to have a nice life, If I wanted to have a good
rapport with the people of Florence, I had to try to
blend in, to be part of the city, of it's people. I
wanted so much to see, to know, to learn. I wanted to
live and enjoy this experience to the fullest. I'm
fine here in "Firenze", I'm not the kind of person who
likes to pass judgments. Throughout the years the
Fiorentine people have changed their opinions of me.
This is something that has come gradually, you can not
point exactly when this started. All this depends on
how your career is evolving. It's always easy to make
friends when things go your way, when you have scored
three goals a match or you are the top scorer, a
little less when things are not going the right way.
Because of all this is difficult for me to pass any
kind of judgment. I can only say that I live my life
respecting those around me and doing my work the best
I'm capable of. Until now my rapport with the city of
Florence and it's people has been more than positive
and I hope it will always be so. Many times I've
considered the idea of leaving, but I've decided to
stay because of "Firenze" and it's people. I live a
good life here, I like the people, I like the city,
you live a peaceful life, all this contributed to my
decision to stay here for the rest of my soccer
Batistuta, what about your family....How do you
reconcile your role as a father with that of the
"This is a job as any other. But I can say that even
when we have a lot of matches we are lucky to have
more time to spend with our families than most. The
thing that takes a lot of time is traveling, but in
normal everyday life we train in the morning or at
noon then we have the rest of the day to spend with
our families. If you think of all the other people
working eight, ten hours, I'm very fortunate even if I
have to work Sundays".
If one of your sons thinks about following your
footsteps, will you encourage him?
"No, I think I'll do the opposite. The boys have to
understand that to reach the top in this career is
very, very difficult. Even more so now. All of them
look up at Batistuta, Vieri, Del Piero, Inzaghi,
without realizing all that has been done to be at the
top. When I started my career as a soccer player I
was not the only one, like me there were thousands of
young boys with my same dreams and aspirations. Of
all those only a few make it. I don't have a formula
for this, I can not say it was luck, persistence,
courage or a combination of all. I can only say that
becoming a professional soccer player is not easy, it
entails a commitment that not all are ready to met at
the age of seventeen. But if any of my sons is really
determined to follow this path, I can say that they
have in them that which is needed to reach the top.
But I'll never push them in this direction".
How do you spend your free time? Is flying your new
"I love to go fishing and hunting, those are my
favorite hobbies. I enjoy flying but I see it more
like something that will help me in the future, it
will help cut short distances in Argentina. I also
enjoy go-karts and playing tennis. This last one I
keep on trying because it seems I'm not able to play
the way I want".
Name one of your best and worst moments.
"Right now I can not tell you which has been the worst
moment, I've lived many difficult moments but I've
been able to face them and learn from them. Beautiful
moments in my career, the two World Cups, those
victories we have achieved....I hope to win something
big, I never give up. I don't know if this is good or
bad, that's the way I am".
We can say then, that your future lies in Argentina?
"It's probable, but this does not mean that I'll be
cutting myself completely from "Firenze". We are
living in a time were moving from one part of the
world to the other is easily done. "Italia",
"Firenze" are a big part of my life, I'll be back here
at least two or three times a year".
What are you taking from Florence to your house in
"Everything surely....a "Viola" shirt is already part
of my shirt-collection there in my house in
Your rapport with the coaches, with whom have you been
closer and with whom just strictly professional?
"My rapport with the different coaches along my career
has been strictly professional. I try to maintain
this at this level. At first because I didn't want
anyone to think I was looking for special treatment.
Now because this philosophy has turned out well during
all these years, so why change it".
You always have been a very reserved person, always
trying to protect your privacy,is it due to your
celebrity or your character?
"I was this way even when I was a young boy. The
years have not changed me in that aspect. Every
person should have the right to keep their secrets, I
don't see why people should know of my private life
only because I'm a soccer player".
A public figure and a normal everyday man, difficult
"I've never been after public acclaim. What I've
achieved I've done with my work, by scoring goals. It
was never my wish to become famous. I can't stand the
invasion of privacy, above all, when it has to do with
my loved ones. It's a delicate situation, one I try
to resolve the best way I know how. I know I'm not
A message for the fans?
"I've sent lots of messages, but what I will ask is
for them to be close to us the way they've always
What of Bati, will you be there for them?
"This I have done for eight years, I've respected the
Fiorentine fans and I think I've gained their respect
as well, that's why we've been able to live peacefully
Batistuta leaves.....No, he has not spoken of love but
of respect. Respect that is synonym of courage and
loyalty. All this is Batigol, a modern man fashioned
the old way.
Yes, probably he will return to his beloved Argentina
but "Firenze" and it's people will remain forever in
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