Saturday, 10 July 2010

Baggio set for Italy role

Italy legend Roberto Baggio is set for a surprise return to football, as part of the staff of the national team set-up.

There were reports this morning in Italy that Baggio, who distanced himself from football since his retirement in 2004, would take up the position of President of the Italian Football Federation's (FIGC) Technical Sector.

And the 43-year-old's agent has confirmed Baggio will hold talks with Federation President Giancarlo Abete in the upcoming days to thrash out the details.

"Roberto Baggio confirms he is available for a job within the Technical Sector of the FIGC," agent Vittorio Petrone told the Ansa news agency.

"Roberto is waiting for a meeting with the Federation President, Giancarlo Abete, to deepen the talks within the next few days.

"The principle motivation behind this meeting is so Roberto can offer his contribution and the experience earned over 22 years in football.

"It is certainly a job that can give Baggio the chance to contribute to Italian football and the Federation."

Petrone also confirmed that Baggio has already expressed his willingness to the President of the Italian Coaches' Association (AIAC), Renzo Ulivieri, whose approval will be needed by the FIGC to make the appointment.

Baggio will reportedly be asked to represent Italian football as an international ambassador and revive the youth academies in the peninsula.

He could also be joined in an official FIGC capacity by fellow former players Paolo Maldini and Antonio Cabrini.

The revamp in Italian football follows Italy's dismal defence of the World Cup in South Africa this summer. Marcelo Lippi's men failed to progress from the group stages and has since been replaced by Cesare Prandelli.

Baggio scored 27 goals in 56 appearances for Italy, and is the only Azzurri player ever to score in three FIFA World Cups.

He led his country to the World Cup final in 1994, scoring five goals in the USA, but infamously missed the final spot-kick in the penalty shootout defeat against Brazil.

The playmaker - affectionately known as Il Divin Codino (the Divine Ponytail) - enjoyed a glittering 22-year career with a number of clubs including Brescia, Fiorentina, Juventus and both Milan teams.

Source: PA

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