Why Did They Bother...Dino Baggio
Date of Birth: 24th July 1971, Camposampiero
Internationals: 60 Caps for Italy, 7 goals
Signed: August 2003 (loan from Lazio)
Left: January 2004 (sent back to Lazio)
Clubs (Prior to Rovers): Torino, Inter Milan, Juventus, Parma & Lazio (All Italy)
Dino Baggio is a player who's quality could not be doubted but during his time with Blackburn Rovers you found yourself wondering at times… why did they bother!
Baggio, raised in Camposampiero near Padova was spotted as a youngster by Torino and brought into their Youth set-up in 1989, making his debut as a 19-year-old in 1990. His quality and ability as a very promising defensive midfielder, but with an eye for goal saw Italian giants Inter Milan snap him up in 1991.
The International career of Baggio began with Italy during his one and only season with Inter Milan during the 1991-1992 season, before a transfer to Juventus during the summer of 1992. During a hectic schedule that summer Baggio also played key roles with Italy at the 1992 European under-21 Championships (which the Italians won) and the 1992 Olympic Games in Spain.
His early career with Juventus saw him initially not accepted by the fans during the 1992-1993 season due to his history with rivals Torino but impressive displays won them over and his place as a starting regular was soon assured, with him being a member of the Juve side that won the 1993 UEFA Cup.
As with his Juve career his International career was going along nicely and he was named in the Italian Squad that went to the 1994 World Cup Finals in the United States. As Italy progressed to the Final he scored two goals along the way but couldn't prevent the Azzurri from losing to Brazil on penalties.
In the summer of 1994, shortly after the World Cup Baggio appeared to be on the move again with Parma interested. Baggio initially rejected the move saying he wanted to stay with Juve, which saw Alessandro Del Piero offered to Parma instead. Parma accepted the offer and with the latter (later to be Italian legend!) set to sign a change of heart from Baggio saw Del Piero's deal scrapped and Baggio went to Parma in stead, the rest of that story as they say is history… With Baggio signing for Parma in a £4 million ahead of the 1994-1995 season he kicked off his Parma career by winning that season's UEFA Cup, for a second time, as a team included Faustino Asprillia and Thomas Brolin lifted the 1995 Cup.
As his Parma career continued as did his Italian one. 1996 saw him come over to England as part of the Italian squad that performed poorly at Euro '96 with him playing in his second World Cup Finals in 1998, playing every match of another ultimately disappointing Italian campaign.
A seven-year association with Parma ended with a move to Lazio in a swap deal in the summer of 2001. The 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 seasons saw little football for the former Italian International as a spell with the one time Roman giants Lazio failed to work out.
Wolverhampton Wanderers were the first English club to be linked with Baggio and a loan move was thought to be in the offering with the club newly promoted to the Premiership for the 2003-2004 season, however this deal failed to materialise and he eventually arrived at Ewood Park amid much expectation in a season long loan deal at the end of August 2003.
His Rovers debut came at Ewood Park against Liverpool in the 3-1 Premiership defeat as a substitute on 13th September 2003. Maybe the fact that this first appearance came on the 13th should have been an omen! A further eight Premiership appearances came for Baggio, all as a substitute with his only goal coming against Leeds United in the 2-1 defeat at Elland Road. His only Rovers start came against Genclerbirligi, with a substitute appearance against the same opponents and an appearance in the FA Cup, ironically against Wolves in a 2-2 draw.
Rovers only won three of the twelve matches in which the Italian featured, drawing two and losing the other seven with his loan called to an end early, with him being sent back to Lazio in January 2004. Upon his return to Lazio he was promptly loaned to Serie A rivals Ancona leaving them to again return to Lazio when they endured and instant return to Serie B after finishing bottom of the League… at least he was playing.
Baggio remained with Lazio for the 2004-2005 season but failed to make an appearance and was released in the summer of 2005. After this he signed for Serie B side Triestina. After playing less than a handful of games he fell out with former International teammate and Triestina coach Pietro Vierchowod and had his contract terminated. As far as I know this proved to be his swansong and he has since retired.
He didn't cost anything so in that respect we didn't really lose much (except the money it cost us to loan him in) but things just didn't really work out for the Italian at Ewood Park.
I'd say that he was never really fit, with this said though had he been given more opportunity to play maybe things could have been different? But on the other hand you could view this as another example of a player past his prime being brought in in the hope he could recapture what he once had?!?! The cynical might say he only arrived for one final payday!
The above information is as accurate to my knowledge as possible up to and including 5th December 2006.
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