Roberto Baggio: From youth football to The World Cup, the true story behind Netflix's biopic

31 May 2021, 09:55 | Updated: 1 June 2021, 16:51

By Radio X

Netflix's biopic Baggio: The Divine Ponytail tells the story of the career of the Italian footballer. Find out the true story behind the film.

Netflix's new biopic Baggio: The Divine Ponytail tells the story of Roberto Baggio.

The film, which stars Andrea Arcangeli as the titular character, charts the life and career of the Italian footballer, who inspired entire generations to play football.

The Letizia Lamartire-directed biopic shows his successes, failures and his faith, but how much does it touch on the life of the sports star?

Find out more about the real life of the Italian footballer here.

Andrea Arcangeli plays Roberto Baggio in Baggio: The Divine Ponytail
Andrea Arcangeli plays Roberto Baggio in Baggio: The Divine Ponytail. Picture: YouTube/Netflix

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Who was Roberto Baggio?

Roberto Baggio was born on 18 February 1967 in Caldogno, Veneto, Italy. The son of Matilde and Florindo Baggio, Roberto was the sixth of eight siblings- one of whom also became a footballer.

Baggio mainly played as second striker or an attacking midfielder, though he was capable of playing in many positions. He was renowned for his dribbling skills, goal scoring and especially his curling free kicks and is widely known as one of the greatest football players of all time.

At the age of 18, while in his final season at Vicenza, Baggio incurred an injury which shattered both the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the meniscus of his right knee. He was told by several doctors that he would never play again, but Fiorentina - who were two days away from finalising his transfer to them - agreed to go through with it and fund his surgery.

Baggio played for seven different Italian clubs during his career. In 1990 he moved from Fiorentina to their rivals Juventus for £8 million in what was a world record transfer fee. At the time it caused riots on the streets of Florence, which injured 50 people.

Baggio played for for his country in 56 matches, scoring 27 goals altogether to become the joint fourth-highest goal scorer for his national team alongside Alessandro Del Piero.

He featured in the Italian team that featured third in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, where he scored twice. He led Italy to the final of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, scored five goals, received the World Cup Silver Ball and was named in the World Cup All-Star Team. However, he missed the decisive penalty shoot out in the final against Brazil. At the 1998 World Cup, Baggio scored twice before Italy were eliminated in the quarter finals by France, who went on to win the whole tournament.

Roberto Baggio played for Italy in the 1994 World Cup match against Bulgaria
Roberto Baggio played for Italy in the 1994 World Cup. Picture: Jérôme Prevost/TempSport/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Roberto Baggio is the only Italian player to score in three World Cups and he holds the record for most goals scored in World Cup Tournaments alongside Paolo Rossi and Christian Vieri.

In 1993, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or. In 1999, he came fourth in the FIFA Player of the Century internet poll and in 2002 was chosen on the FIFA World Cup Dream Team. In 2004, he was named by Pelé in a list of the world's latest living players, the FIFA 100.

Outside of football, Baggio was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2002. The following year, he became the inaugural winner of the Golden Foot award.

Baggio received the Man of Peace award from the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in 2010 in recognition on his activism on human rights.

In 2011, he was the first footballer to be inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame. He is also the former president of the technical sector of the Italian Football Federation.

Andrea Arcangeli wears an unmistakeable ponytail as he plays Roberto Baggio in Baggio: The Divine Ponytail
Andrea Arcangeli wears an unmistakeable ponytail as he plays Roberto Baggio in Baggio: The Divine Ponytail. Picture: YouTube/Netflix

Why was Roberto Baggio's nickname the Divine Ponytail?

Roberto Baggio was known as the Divin Codino or the Divine Ponytail, which was a reference to the iconic ponytail he wore for much of his career. It was also a nod to his playing ability and his Buddhist beliefs. He was also referred to as Robi or Roby by his fans.

What is Roberto Baggio doing now?

Roberto Baggio is still alive and well and is now 54 years old at the time of writing this article.

Who is Roberto Baggio's wife and children?

Roberto Baggio's wife is Andreina Fabbi, who he married in 1989. Despite his conversion from Roman Catholicism to Buddhism, they married in a traditional Roman Catholic ceremony. They share three children together; a daughter, Valentina (1990); and two sons Mattia (1994) and Leonardo (2005).

Andreina and Roberto Baggio with the newly born Valentina
Andreina and Roberto Baggio with the newly born Valentina in 1990. Picture: Angelo Deligio\Mondadori via Getty Images

What is Roberto Baggio's net worth?

According to celebritynetworth.com, Roberto Baggio is worth approximately $15 million.

What was Baggio's Magical Kicks?

The classic online football game celebrated Baggio's impact on the sport by asking players to try and replicate his accuracy on free-kicks and penalties. It has been seen in several iterations across the years.

Are Roberto and Dino Baggio related?

Robert and Dino Baggio are both Italian former professional footballers. Although their surnames are the same they are not relatives. However, they were former teammates for two seasons in Juventus and formed a close friendship. Dino also played in 1994 and FIFA 1998 World Cup.

Eddy and Roberto Baggio in 1991
Eddy and Roberto Baggio in 1991. Picture: Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Are Roberto and Eddy Baggio related?

Yes. Eddy Baggio, who played 86 matches in the Italian league Serie B, was Roberto's younger brother.

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