Roberto Baggio retired 20 years ago. Sundays have not been the same since

Roberto Baggio retired 20 years ago. Sundays have not been the same since

16-May-2024 10:33:29 | The Guardian

There are no fairytale endings in football but the Divine Ponytail came close when he said goodbye at San Siro in 2004

By Emmet Gates for The Gentleman Ultra

It’s become one of the iconic images of Italian football in the 21st century. Roberto Baggio is taking a corner for Brescia at a sold-out San Siro on a beautiful afternoon on 16 May 2004. Baggio is looking to his left, the game’s most famous ponytail – greying and more bountiful than in the 1990s – resting on his slender shoulders as he scans the penalty box to see which teammate to pick out. The sheer scale and concrete beauty of the Giuseppe Meazza is on full show in the background.

Surprisingly, there is scarcely anyone else in the frame except for referee Antonio Giannoccaro and two Brescia players so far away it’s impossible to make them out. The picture gives the impression Baggio is in the San Siro alone, with a paying audience of 80,000 fans there solely to see him. In many ways, they were.

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