Former Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta, recently announced his availability to coach a UAE soccer club. The man known as ‘Batigol’ during his career, prior Fiorentina and Roma striker, famed for his stunning, long-range shots, told the media at an Abu Dhabi Sports Council event in February his coaching ambitions. It seems that Batistuta wants to follow the footsteps of his fellow compatriot Maradona, who spent a season in charge of Dubai club Al Wasl in 2011/12.
In 2014, Gabriel Batistuta was inducted into the Fiorentina hall of fame, as he scored 168 goals in 269 games for the team; “Fiorentina was everything for me,” said Batistuta, who shed tears in an emotional induction ceremony to the Viola’s hall of fame last year.
Batistuta left Fiorentina for Roma in 2000 where he finally won the Serie A title to crown his career in Italy. During 12 years in Italy, Gabriel scored 184 goals in 318 games; “[he] is the 11th highest Serie A scorer of all time – averaging a goal every 1.7 games,” mentioned The Guardian in a post. He had gone on to retire in 2005 after having spent a season playing in Qatar where he accepted a contract with a local team, Al-Arabi.
This year, the 46-year-old Batistuta received a jersey with the number 46 from UAE Football players Ismail Mattar and Abdulla Noobi during a football seminar in Abu Dhabi; he said his days as a soccer player are over, but told Gulf News that now he is ready to take the plunge into management to follow his coaching dreams. He is very content in the emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), saying he misses this place when in Argentina declaring “Everyone is very friendly here. To coach here one day, why not?”
With the World Cup to be hosted in Qatar in 2020, Batistuta – for which he was a bid ambassador – after ending his career with Qatari side Al Arabi 10 years ago, looks forward to being part of the international football tournament. He has great memories of Qatar.
Today, Gabriel Batistuta, is an avid golfer. The once called “Bati-goal” is now labelled “Bat-golf”. Though Batistuta considers himself an average golfer, he took part in the inaugural ICONS Cup golf tournament held last month (April 22-24) at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course as the fifth footballer to join Team Rest of the World (ROTW). Batistuta played alongside fellow football icons Luís Figo, Robbie Fowler, Andriy Shevchenko and Dwight Yorke. The entire ROTW team was comprised of other sport stars, including renowned cricketers, rugby stars, and an Olympic gold medal athlete. Batistuta is now found taking on a new game: polo.
In an interview, Gabriel Batistuta tells the interviewer (in a worldsoccer.com post) he plans to go back to football at some point as a team manager, not as the coach, so he can transmit his winning mentality to the players. Gabriel hopes to be given this a chance in the UAE or as ambassador of the World Cup Qatar 2020, which he believe will allow the Arab world an opportunity to make a great step forward in soccer, truly living up to the motto of football is for everyone.