Imagine for a second Roberto Baggio converting his penalty. That penalty. You know which one, because him skying it, somehow seems to define his whole footballing career. As if the nearly two decades Baggio played don’t matter.
An incredibly talented trequartista, Baggio’s career was almost over before it got started. Just after his move to Fiorentina in 1985 was confirmed, he ruptured his ACL. Baggio only made five league appearances in his first two seasons with the Viola.
By the time the World Cup 94 rolled around, the 27-year-old had become world class. Baggio was voted WPOTY in 1993. He single-handedly dragged a mediocre Italy side into the final of Pasadena, scoring five goals in the process. In the shoot-out against Brazil Franco Baresi and Daniele Massaro also missed their penalties. And Baggio skyed his.
Why bring this up here, now?
For one, it shows how narrowly we think about past players. If Baggio makes the attempt and Italy win the World Cup, Il Divin Codino enters history as the greatest Italian player of all time. He’s still in the conversation, as he well should be, but at what point is he brought up? And does he get past the caveat that moment carries?
Two, and more imporant – at least on here – if Baggio makes that penalty, there is no chance in the world Juventus sell him a year later. And who knows what happens then in 95/96.
Further reading: Baggio vs. Lippi: The Anatomy of a Feud (These Football Times)
As it went down Baggio fell into a hole in 94/95, battling his own demons, the media and injuries.
Enter Pinturicchio: With Baggio sidelined, a 19-year-old Alessandro Del Piero bursts onto the scene and seizes the opportunity. By scoring goals like these.
Juve win the Scudetto in 94/95 for the first time in almost ten years. Throw in a Coppa to boot and we have our challenger for an Ajax side still firing on all cylinders.
Mercifully we split up Episode 4 into two. Part one clocks in at just under 2 hours and we only got up until the final. A big chunk is devoted to covering the history of Juventus, a trip through the decades highlighting their greatest sides and players, and of course the bust-up of Lippi and Baggio.
- 0:00:00 Intro
- 0:04:15 Culture re-cap: Academy Awards 1996, Wrestlemania XII
- 0:14:00 Kanu and Nigeria at the Olympics ’96, Diego Simeone and Argentina at the Copa ’95
- 0:18:40 CL qualification round feat. Anorthosis vs Rangers, Rosenborg vs Besiktas, Anderlecht vs Ferencvaros
- 0:23:30 Dinamo Kiev banned for attempted bribery, Groups A and B
- 0:30:45 An overlook of Juve’s history, their greatest sides and triumphs
- 0:48:30 Juve in 1994: Marcelo Lippi comes in, Roberto Baggio is led go
- 1:00:00 Difference in coaching approaches between Lippi and van Gaal
- 1:06:00 Juve’s domestic season (95/96), quality of Serie A, Milan, Sampdoria
- 1:16:30 Ajax’ moves in the summer, early trophies
- 1:25:00 Quarter finals feat. Real vs Juve, Nantes vs Spartak Moscow, Ajax vs Dortmund, Legia vs Panathinaikos
- 1:35:15 Nantes founding history and ’60s success; semi finals feat. Nantes vs Juve, Ajax vs Panathinaikos
- 1:50:00 More theories about the impossibility of defending the CL title