Gabriel Batistuta is emotional about his Fiorentina tribute and gives his views on Argentina internationals Mauro Icardi, Lautaro Martinez and Gonzalo Higuain.
The iconic 1990s striker is back in the city of Florence to celebrate his 50th birthday with a special event, where his 50 greatest goals will be projected on to the buildings of Piazza della Signoria.
“I gave a lot to this city, but I think Florence gave me even more,” said Batigol.
“Even if I leave here and go far away, every time I return, I feel like I am at home. This is why I am surprised by gestures like this celebration and feel it’s too much. This is an extraordinary setting and I don’t know if I deserve to be feted in such a way, but if in doubt, I’ll enjoy it anyway!
“I haven’t asked for any details, as I want to be just as surprised as everyone else. I am discovering that I must’ve done something good in my life to have such love. I was still angry until I turned 45 and felt that I missed out on something, but now I am happy with my life and what I achieved.”
Batistuta was asked if he could join Giancarlo Antognoni in having a role within the club hierarchy.
“Fiorentina don’t need me and I am happy in Argentina. This way, I get to come back here, see my friends and not worry. I managed to walk the streets of Florence today with my mother and nobody stopped to ask if we’d won.
“I do always follow Fiorentina’s progress, of course. The Della Valle family don’t see me as part of the club and that’s fine, I accept that.”
The Argentine did not end his career with the Viola, as he also won a Scudetto with Roma and had a spell at Inter.
“I went to Roma in order to challenge myself and I passed that test. I’m not sure that I wanted to join Inter, because my ankles were already in bad shape and I couldn’t give my best there.
“I never would’ve gone to Juventus, even if they had called, because I knew the way Fiorentina fans viewed them.”
Icardi is ready for his return to the Inter line-up after six weeks out amid a dispute, where Lautaro Martinez has impressed in his absence.
“I think Icardi has the potential to do even better and can give a lot more. Lautaro is emerging well after an initial period of adaptation,” continued Batistuta.
This week, former Napoli, Juve and Milan forward Higuain announced “to the joy of many” that he is retiring from international duty.
“Higuain is a great striker and was respected all over the world, but not really in Argentina, where people remember him more for the few misses than the hundreds of goals scored.”
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