Pep Guardiola explains how he intends to use Roberto Baggio in his new Manchester City team. 'In a season, he'd score 50 goals.' There's no denying that.'
The Spaniard talked with Corriere dello Sport about the former Italian star
"If Baggio were to play in today's football, he'd score 50 goals per season. There's no doubt about it," said Guardiola.
"I don't just mean with me or Manchester City, I mean with any coach and any team. Roby was a phenomenon when playing basically with only one good leg and in an Italian football that at the time was very difficult for a forward to survive in.
"At that time, there were so few spaces and at most four or five chances per game, but he always managed to score and often in incredible circumstances. Roby was there with Diego Maradona, Marco van Basten, Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero…
"Nowadays inSerie A
, you see the forwards get far more service and in more comfortable areas. Italian football will always have an element of defend and counter, because that's an aspect that is admired abroad and part of your culture, but with the revolution of Arrigo Sacchi and lately coaches like Maurizio Sarri and Roberto De Zerbi, there are teams who play the ball more and therefore also concede more."
Baggio stated that if he were still playing today, he would have Guardiola as his manager.
"If he reconsiders retirement and gets into shape, I will gladly sign Baggio!" replied the Manchester City head coach.
"In my team, he would certainly be a False 9. He wouldn't have to run too much, but on the other hand he'd have 500 touches per game and score 50 goals per season.
"I don't know if he'd win more Ballon d'Or trophies in this day and age. He'd be up against two aliens like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, so it's fantasy football and impossible to know how things would go."
Baggio was dubbed a No. 9.5 though he was neither a forward nor a traditional Number 10.
"There are so many players passionate about Baggio, because they can admire the YouTube clips. We are still in contact, I was meant to visit his home for the last two years, but due to commitments and COVID, we always had to postpone it. Maybe this summer will be the right time.
"I can't wait for Roby to cook for me, he's brilliant at that too, and I know he'll always pick the right bottle of wine! I want to invite him to the Champions League Final, but there are so few tickets available, it might be easier to organise dinner."