LB presents the Full Story of a Goal Machine best known by the Nickname; ‘Batigol’. Our Gabriel Batistuta Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts brings to you a full account of notable events from his childhood time till date.
The analysis of the Argentine Legendary Striker involves his life story before fame, family life and many OFF and ON-Pitch little known facts about him. Now without further adieu, let us begin.
Gabriel Batistuta Childhood Story – Early Life and Family Background:
Gabriel Omar Batistuta was born on the 1st day of February 1969 in Avellaneda, Argentina by Osmar Omar Batistuta (father) and Gloria Zilli (mother). He is the last born and only son of his parents.
As a little boy, his best friend was his mother. There were 5 and 6. There was an endearing tenderness in the love Gloria had for her little son, Gabriel. Little did she know she gave birth to Argentine greatest goal machine.
Although he was the playful type during his childhood days. Gabriel Batistuta grew up learning some crazy hobbies. Like how to stand on horses even while they move.
He even threw somersaults while on them. He became famous in his neighbourhood due to his acrobat skills.
While at school, Gabriel Batistuta could stick with every school playground equipment. His favourite was the Bipod Swing. He hardly lets go of it once clinched during break and closing hours.
Gabriel Batistuta Childhood Biography Facts – Discovering Sport:
Asides from being playful, there was no relationship with football from his childhood days. Ideally, Gabriel did not develop an interest in football early on. He was more into his academics than sports.
Gabriel Batistuta was a science student who once dreamt of becoming a medical doctor. As a kid, he could spend hours in the science laboratory.
As a youth, he preferred other sports than the soccer he later chooses to follow. Gabriel Batistuta was tall for his age and particularly enjoyed basketball. It was the love for basketball that made him took an interest in sports in general.
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.
Literally, he had very little interest in what would become his future profession until that year 1978.
That summer, Argentina hosted the World Cup. Batistuta was captivated as he watched La Albiceleste overcame difficult odds to win the tournament.
From that moment, he decided to pursue the sport and joined a local club with some of his friends.
Batistuta’s early performances showed him to be a raw talent, possessing very little technical ability.
Nonetheless, Newell’s Old Boys believed that he would be a special player and offered him a professional contract.
Gabriel Batistuta Family Life:
FATHER: Mr Osmar Omar Batistuta is Gabriel’s father. He is of an Islamic/Arabian/Ottoman origin. He was responsible for his son joining Alhariabi SC football club in Qatar during the last string of his career (2003 – 2005).
SISTERS: Gabriel Batistuta is the only son of his family. He has three sisters namely Elisa (left), Gabriela and Alejandra (right).
Gabriel Batistuta Relationship Life:
At the age of 16, he met Irina Fernández, his future wife, at her quinceañera, a rite of passage on her 15th birthday. On 28 December 1990, they were married at Saint Roque Church.
The couple moved to Florence, Italy, in 1991, and a year later their first son, Thiago, was born.
Thanks to good performances in the Italian championship and with the Argentine national team, Batistuta gained fame and respect.
He filmed several commercials and was invited onto numerous TV shows, but in spite of this, Batistuta always remained a low-profile family man.
In 1997, Batistuta’s second son, Lucas, was born, and a third son, Joaquín, followed in 1999.
His fourth son named Shamel was born in 2000. That was the year Batistuta and his family moved to Rome, where he played for Roma. Two years after Shamel was born, Batistuta was loaned to Inter.
Gabriel Batistuta Biography Facts – Nicknames:
Gabriel Batistuta has gotten three nicknames so far in his life. The first nickname is ‘Batigoal’. It’s a combination of his first name and goal-scoring ability.
Second is ‘El Ángel Gabriel’. This name came from his first name ‘Gabriel’. ‘Angel’ was added because of his goals which saved Argentina on numerous occasions.
Finally, He got ‘Lion King’ as a nickname. This is because of his ‘Lion King’ Like Looks looks.
Gabriel Batistuta Bio – The Meaning of BATIGOL Nickname:
B is for BRAVERY – something which Batistuta has in abundance. Tendonitis or not, the big man had, for years, played on painkillers despite the pain in his right knee, simply because his team needed him.
A is for ARGENTINA – Batistuta’s home nation. Born in Reconquista, Santa Fe, he has captained the national team and is now the top scorer in Argentina’s history.
T is for THIRTY-TWO – Batistuta’s age. Now in the twilight of his career, he is nonetheless still one of the most dangerous strikers in Serie A.
I is for ICON – which is what Batistuta is, a veritable football icon. A hero in Argentina, his goal-scoring exploits have eclipsed legends Diego Maradona and Alfredo di Stefano.
G is for GOALS – the thing which Batistuta delivers best. Despite a knee injury, he still netted 18 goals for Roma this season. Has also netted 207 goals in 332 appearances for Fiorentina and 54 in 74 for Argentina.
O is for OLYMPIC STADIUM – otherwise known as the Stadio Olimpico, Roma’s home stadium, where Batistuta may finally get the elusive Serie A title that he so richly deserves.
L is for LOYALTY – this is, after all, the man who stuck with Fiorentina for nine years, even when the club was relegated in 1993, and cried after scoring against the club in a Roma shirt.
Gabriel Batistuta Religion:
“Gabriel” is the Christian version of an Islamic name “Cebrail”. (the name of an angel or a saint depending on which religion you believe) – there is no clear sign on his first name.
“Omar” (his middle name) is an Islamic name, sure. “Batistuta” (his surname): We have no idea what this means. Probably a Latin or a Christian name.
Well, you probably understood what I am going to ask. Does Gabriel Omar Batistuta have also an Islamic background?.. The Answer is ‘YES’.
A few notes on Argentina with an example: You know the nickname of Argentina president. He is called “El Turco”.
Actually, he is not a Turk but had an Egyptian ancestor who travelled to South America some centuries ago (about 4-5 centuries ago.).
At that time, Egypt was just like a state of Ottoman Empire which were a mixture of Turks, Egyptians, Algerians, some other Arabic countries and some Balkan countries.
Back to the name “Omar”. This is an Islamic (or better to say, an Arabic name. Also, its not a Turkic name). However, Ottomans had used Islamic (Arabic) names, therefore, Omar (or Omer) is also an Ottoman name.
So, I invite you to realize the similarity between Argentina president and Gabriel Omar Batistuta and I claim that Gabriel Omar Batistuta has an ancestor (maybe, half) from Ottomans.
This means his ancestor was, maybe, a Turk, maybe an Arab from Egypt, maybe from Syria, maybe from a Balkan country, maybe from Algeria. Algeria sounds good because Zidane too was half Algerian
Gabriel Batistuta Biography Facts – International Accolades:
At the international level, he is Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer. He played at three World Cups.
In 1999, Batistuta was third in the FIFA World Player of the Year awards. In 2004 he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the Top 125 greatest living footballers.
With an all-round game with clinical finishing, heading and free-kick taking abilities, he is known as one of the most complete strikers of his generation. Diego Maradona stated that Batistuta is the best striker he has ever seen play the game.
In the 1998 World Cup, Batistuta recorded his second hat-trick in the international competition, making him the only player ever to achieve this feat. However, it was not enough as Argentina was knocked out by the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
Batistuta announced that the 2002 World Cup would be his last international competition, providing Argentina with an emotional boost.
Going into the tournament, the team felt very good about its chances to win. Once again, it came up short.
Finding itself in the “group of death”, La Albicelestewas knocked out of the tournament in the opening round for the first time since 1962. His last ever goal for Argentina scored against Nigeria on 2nd June 2002.
Batistuta finished his international career with a record 56 goals in just 78 appearances—a number that may never be surpassed.
Gabriel Batistuta Biography – Club Career in Summary:
Batistuta’s professional career got off to a slow start. After a disappointing season with Newell’s, he transferred to River Plate. There, his struggles continued as he managed to find the back of the net just 3 times in 19 appearances.
Things began to gel for Batistuta in his next stop with Boca Juniors. The club made him the focal point of its attack and he responded by scoring 13 goals and helping Boca win the league championship.
His impressive form earned a transfer to Italian club Fiorentina in 1991. Batistuta’s performances with La Viola would cement his legacy as one of the greatest players to ever grace the pitch.
He was later 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.
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 was enshrined in the AS Roma Hall of Fame.
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.
In all, Batistuta is the eleventh highest scorer in Serie A history with 184 goals in 318 matches with Roma, Fiorentina and Inter Milan.
He made 516 career appearances, scoring 300 goals, including 207 for Fiorentina during a nine-year spell in Florence.
Gabriel Batistuta Leg Amputation Request:
Argentina legend Gabriel Batistuta begged a doctor to amputate his legs due to the excruciating pain he felt after retiring in 2005.
The former striker, who netted 56 times in 78 international caps and terrorised defences in Serie A for years, suffered terribly from the stress he had put on his body during a 17-year career.
Batistuta, who netted a penalty against England at the 1998 World Cup, was unable to walk and would wet the bed as he could not face dragging himself to the bathroom.
Gabriel Batistuta Retirement Life:
After retiring, he moved to Perth, Australia and later moved back to Argentina in 2007 to start a construction company. Despite earning his coaching badges in Argentina, he currently has no involvement with football. Instead, he prefers to play polo.
He has lots of horses which he keeps on his farm he owns with his father. Batistuta is also known to breed cattle. Asides from Polo, he also plays golf. He was once quoted as saying, ‘I don’t like football, it was only my job.’
Gabriel Batistuta Untold Biography Facts – Among the most Handsome footballer:
Batigol was one of the greatest attackers in the history of the sport … and a ladies’ favourite as well.
He never showed any particular interest in a fashion career, but his handsome, rock-star looks fascinated and excited his female fans around the globe, who dedicated one fan page after another on the Web to him.
Eventually, he gave in to the constant demands for his attention and loaned a small piece of himself to the fashion industry when he briefly advertised Sting glasses in the ‘90s.
Women also loved him in his prime, as he was considered one of the most handsome soccer players of his generation. He was seen behind many Argentine commercials even after retirement.
Gabriel Batistuta Biography Facts – A Legend in Florence:
When Fiorentina was 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.
In all competitions with Fiorentina, Batistuta scored a total of 207 goals in 333 appearances—a blistering .62 goals per appearance. In addition, he scored a league-leading 26 goals in 1995 and helped Fiorentina win the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa in 1996.
Gabriel Batistuta Biography Facts – The Interview:
These are Batistuta’s Q&As from World Soccer.
World Soccer: We haven’t seen you in Europe for a while, Gabriel…
Gabriel Batistuta: I don’t call journalists when I come to Europe! In Italy they complain that I do not visit, but I have a house in Florence which I visit three or four times a year. I just don’t call in advance!
So life is good away from football?
I can’t complain.
Do you watch much football?
I watch more matches now than when I was playing. I go to the stadium when I can, but I also watch a lot of games on TV. At this moment in my life I’m still resting from the 20-year pressure that I went through.
Do you plan to go back to football at some point?
I’ve got my coaching diploma but my plan, if I go back to football, would be as a team manager, not as the coach.
Is that because coaching is too stressful?
All over the world it is the same. Unfortunately the profession of coaching is a very short-lived one, regardless of whether you win or not. And I’m not very passionate about that!
Do you have a favourite for the World Cup, other than Argentina?
Brazil have to be favourites. Spain have been playing well. Argentina have a good chance because they have plenty of good players and a coach who has won a lot of times and can transmit his winning mentality to the players.
Diego Maradona was criticised for changing the team a lot in the qualifiers. Could the World Cup be different, because he cannot alter his squad of 23?
The difference will be that he can work with the same players for a month before, and it all depends on how the players are feeling when they arrive at the World Cup.
You played with Maradona in 1994. Was he the most forceful personality in the squad?
No, we all had strong personalities. We all wanted the best for the team. So we let people talk in the dressing room and made sure we were all heard. Maradona was no exception.
Was 1998, when you reached the quarter-finals, a better tournament for you?
None of the three World Cups I played in were good for me because we did not win. For us Argentinians it was the same going back after three games or five games.
Why did you end your career in Qatar? You could have moved anywhere.
I was at the end of my professional career. I wanted another experience, I wanted to learn about another culture. If I went to Spain or England it would have been something very similar to what I had already experienced.
What was different about the lifestyle. Was anything difficult?
No, I felt at ease from the start. I went with my wife and my children. We found schools of a high standard. The hospitals were a high level. My fourth son was born there and I wanted him to be born there. That was a factor in my staying for two years.
And now you’re involved with Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.
My two years living there were a wonderful experience for me and my family. I stopped playing because I had problems with my ankles, but the time I spent there was always in the back of my mind. It was a pleasure to be contacted by Qatar because it meant I must have left a positive impression there.
A World Cup in Qatar would be a very different tournament. We tend to think of World Cup Finals in famous footballing cities like Buenos Aires or Rome.
FIFA’s motto is football for everyone. We’ve never had a World Cup in the middle east. In recent years, the Arab world has opened up. We have a chance for FIFA to give the Arab world this opportunity.
How are the playing conditions? People are concerned about the temperatures.
I played there for two years. It was hot but you can play perfectly well. Now they are working on a cooling system at the Al Sadd stadium where the technology enables the temperature inside the stadium to be 20 degrees when it is 30 or 40 outside.
What did you think of the Thierry Henry handball?
When you are on the pitch, things happen and you don’t know what the reaction will be. Maybe he didn’t know what he did.
So Henry’s action was instinctive?
Certainly. But FIFA should accept the help of technology. I don’t see why football should not open its doors to new technology.
Were there any times in your career when TV replays would have helped?
Certainly. There’s suspicion about referees. People think how can the referee not see things that are seen on TV? Replays would help to eliminate any suspicion.
Lionel Messi played for your old team, Newell’s Old Boys, but went to Europe as a very young teenager. You went to Italy at a much older age. Do players go to Europe too early nowadays?
Yes. When I started playing, I was 18 years old. When Messi was 18 he had won trophies with Barcelona. Those are the two extremes. I started late, he started very young. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
There’s been a lot of pressure on Messi from a very early age. You were able to grow up more slowly.
South American players grow up quickly, from a sports point of view, but mentally they’re not well prepared. It’s difficult to see a Spanish, Italian or English player in the top division when he’s 18.
In Argentina, when you’re 18, you’ve already played in one or two championships. The clubs need to sell, so they sell a 20-year-old player because another one is right behind.