From his first matches that were played on the field which they called
"il lombrico" (earthworm), a long and narrow strech of dirt, to the
effervescent pit known as la Bombonera, Boca Jrs. stadium, his road has
been filled with difficulties, lots of work and yes, luck. Without the
goddess of good fortune you hardly go anywhere, but we all know that to
achieve goals you have to have more than the help of the goddess, you
have to have what it takes. At the end only those who deserve it will
To think that being a soccer player, a soccer star was not always in the
mind of Batistuta. His favorite sport was basketball. Who would have
dreamt at the time that he would reach "Olympus", the gods domain by
scoring goals. He never thought of making soccer his life, never
thought of becoming rich and famous. His story is filled with
difficult moments, of lost chances, of laughter,of tears, good and bad
decisions and yes, many, many dazzling moments.
It's by mere casuality that Bati made his soccer 'debut', the 25 of
On January l987 a representative of Newell's Old Boys of Rosario driving
a black car "kidnapped" Bati and took him to what comes to be his road
of glory. It was not an easy period for Bati but "Papa" Osmar was in
accord with the man of the black car.
It is time to try, he told Bati, time to try your wings. When he
arrived at Rosario, he was confronted for the first time with envy and
obstacles that seemed unsurmountable, but also he was able to make some
good friends. Gabriel was lucky at this point to meet a coach that
came to believe in him without any doubts. The name of this coach,
Marcelo Bielsa, today Argentina's National team coach. Then he was
called to the first team.
In the Argentine championship our "Re-Leone" (Lion King) made his debut
in Tucuman against San Martin, he played for half an hour. They lost
1-0. What we called his real 'debut' came three days later when
Newell's striker, Gabrich, suffered an injury. So, Bati wearing the
number 9 in his back played the semi-final match in "Copa Libertadores"
against San Lorenzo. He didn't score but he left his heart on the
When he woke up the next day, the headings of the newspapers were like a
premonition of what was to come: 'Batistuta, a star in the making'.
Gabriel was not able to bring everyone to his side. Some champions of
the past, great players themselves, Passarella, Sivori, were not
convinced that he deserved this kind of
attention. Time proved them to be better players than "connoisseurs"
of men. In time they too will be convinced. He was discriminated,
ignored by Passarella while he was playing at River and while Passarella
was head coach of Aregentina's National team, Bati was ignored by a long
period of time. Sivori unexplainably has denigrated Bati's figure to
all the media until recently when he seems to be afflicted with some
kind of amnesia in relation to all he has ever said against Batistuta.
Bati has never felt the need to obtain revenge or apologies from no
one. He never compares himself to anyone. He's Batistuta and that's
that. A player that knows when to be humble, a man that has writen and
is writing a life more brilliant than that of any of those who have
After his time with Newell's and River Plate, Settimio
Aloisio, his manager, one who knows a lot of the bussiness, with a
strategical move was able to bring Bati to Boca Jrs.. Boca the team
that Bati carries close to his heart. The one he promises to end his
brilliant career with. Thanks also to Aloisio, Bati was able to live
his first Italian experience. Bati flew to Italy wit "Il Deportivo" to
take part in the "Viareggio" Tournament. After a tie with Milan (Toldo
was #12 in this team) Bati shined scoring a hat-trick to the "Ska" of
Sofia. The "Deportivo" adventure ended in freekicks with Torino, where
Bati failed the decisive one, celebrating this sad way his 20th
birthday. In one of the free days, the coaches took their boys to see
a real "calcio" match: Fiorentina against Milan. Gabriel was moved,
impressed by the amount of people, by the warmth, the love given by the
"tifosi" to the "Viola" team, their encouragement to the players through
That day Bati could never have imagined that in two years all that love,
all that warmth of those "tifosi" were going to be his forever....