Gabriel Omar Batistuta is a synonym for goalscoring machine after a rich playing career, so it’s no wonder he’s earned himself a nickname – Batigol.
Just like most Argentinians, Batistuta is famous for his passion and desire which nobody appreciates more than football fans. And when you combine the Argentinian passion and the artistry of Florence, the result is one of the most heartwarming footballing stories you’ll find.
However, before we arrive to a moment in history and Batigol’s legendary tears, some background would be useful. After impressing in Argentina, where he played for both Boca Juniors and River Plate, Batistuta moved to Italy as Fiorentina wanted him. However, just before going there, he married the love of his life who he met when they were 16 years of old. Bati always knew discipline; growing up with three younger sisters, he took on the responsibility of guarding them early on. And while remaining a family man for all of his life, there was one place where Batistuta was a predator with a killer instinct – the football pitch. For a man with so much love, it’s fascinating to see his hate toward the ball, which he struck with specific strength and power.
In his nine wonderful years in Fiorentina in the golden age of Serie A, Viola was unable to compete against the other Italian giants despite Batistuta’s 169 goals throughout the years. This prompted Batistuta to move to Roma in an attempt to win big trophies as his career was approaching twilight. After joining Roma, he became their hero, too, after leading the team with 20 goals to Scudetto, just a season after Roma’s hated rival, Lazio took the glory. However, it wasn’t Lazio fans whose heart Batistuta broke – it was Fiorentina’s and his own.
When Viola arrived in Rome to face Batistuta’s new team, the Argentinian went to the “opposition” fans and saluted them – and worry not – they saluted him back. When the match started, it was a harsh stalemate, with the score tied at 0-0 going into the 83rd minute. Roma needed everything they could get at home, considering that their title challenge required them to win. At that moment, Batistuta struck the ball with such ferocity and accuracy that the whole stadium started shaking after it perfectly hit the upper corner of Fiorentina’s net. And with Stadio Olimpico going wild, Batistuta couldn’t celebrate, couldn’t comprehend the feelings of scoring against his own – as if he was cheating Fiorentina. After the match ended with a 1-0 win for his new team, Batistuta saluted his Fiorentina’s fans once again, this time leaving the pitch in tears after the fans still showered him with love, proving that their connection goes above the typical understanding of football.