Batistuta on the Way to Inter, Baggio on the Way out

Published April 26th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Inter Milan's revolving door could see Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta arriving at the club as fellow striker Roberto Baggio makes his exit, the Italian press reported Wednesday. 

There is growing speculation over the future of Fiorentina skipper Batistuta, rated at 70 billion lira ($35 million), but the departure of Baggio, by the player's own admission, is a near certainty. 

Batistuta's agent Settimio Aloisio was flying to Europe on Wednesday, the Gazzetta dello Sport reported, with three destinations on his schedule - London, Madrid and Italy. 

At Inter, "Batigol" would replace injured star Ronaldo for at least the first four months of next season, and then alternate with Christian Vieri as the Brazilian's strike partner, the paper said. 

Vieri has missed much of this season through injury and there remains the unvoiced fear that Ronaldo's career could already be over after two knee operations in the space of five months. 

Baggio, who scored the match-winning penalty for a FIFA World Stars team against Bosnia on Tuesday, is already preparing to leave Inter. 

His two-year contract expires in June and Italy's best-loved footballer told reporters in Sarajevo: "If Inter intended to renew my contract, they would have already done so. 

"In a month's time, I'll be free and I'll calmly choose the next team I'm going to play for." 

Baggio has spent most of the season on the substitutes' bench under coach Marcello Lippi, who had also offloaded him from Juventus in 1995. 

But his spirits were revived last weekend when he scored Inter's final goal in a 3-0 victory here over Bari - their first since March 5. 

"Saturday I rediscovered what it felt like to be applauded," he said. "It was very gratifying, because this year there's hasn't been a lot to celebrate. 

"You lose enthusiasm sitting on the bench and you can't play well if you can't play regularly." 

At 33, Baggio wants to end his career at a club where he can play regularly, as he did at Bologna in 1997-98, scoring a career-best 22 goals and winning back his place in the national squad - MILAN (AFP). 

 

 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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