Argentina legend Gabriel Batistuta gave an excellent interview last night on Fox Sports Latin America and I felt it was worth sharing with the English-speaking world.
Batistuta’s record as a striker is remarkable, with 321 goals in 498 games at club level but more incredibly, 56 goals in 78 matches in International football.
He is one of the top ten goalscorers in Serie A history but is as revered in Florence for sticking with Fiorentina after their 1993 relegation, as he is for his talents in front of goal.
They even built a life-sized bronze statue of him with the engraving underneath:
To Gabriel Batistuta, indomitable warrior, tenacious in his quest, and loyal of heart.
How lovely. Anyway, here’s Batigol’s opinions on the burning issues of the day:
Batistuta on…. Messi
– “I see a Messi that is intelligent, away from controversies. What I don’t like is how [Argentines] always find him responsible for the national team’s shortcomings”
– “I watched Messi against Colombia and he can’t keep saving us… the situation must change”
– “For Barcelona, Messi smashes it and we want him to do the same for [Argentina], but there are different players… Messi doesn’t play for Argentina as he does for Barcelona, I think he seems nervous, because if he makes a mistake, everyone turns against him”
Batistuta on… The state of the national team
– “The play seems too slow, like they play in the domestic league”
– “The national teams win nothing at youth level anymore, and neither do the seniors.”
– “I always felt responsible if the team wasn’t playing well, I felt in debt to the spectator that had paid for his ticket, and maybe it’s because of this that I never really enjoyed what I did”
Batistuta on… Modern players
– “Players need to realise this is a job”
– “I would love to teach strikers (number 9’s) how to move better”
– “I never asked a manager why I wasn’t playing [if he wasn’t picking me]”
Batistuta on… His career
– “I never felt comfortable playing football, I always doubted myself and that is why I gave everything. It’s this that I teach to my children.”
– “My pride is having played for 12 years to the top level… the best players I played with were Maradona and Totti.”
Batistuta on… Tevez
– “If I were Tevez, I wouldn’t ever do what he is doing. I don’t know his reasons but I wouldn’t do this. The club pays him and he has to respect his contract”
Batistuta on… Bielsa
– “Talking to Bielsa was always very difficult”
– “The only manager to ever leave an indelible mark on me/to teach me a truly important lesson was Bielsa… he taught me how to truly respect your teammates.”