From the boy who fought back from serious surgery to inspire Fiorentina to the veteran who thrilled Brescia and Bologna, he was never banal. The Divine Ponytail or a “drowned rabbit”, Roby Baggio was an icon of Calcio.

Outstanding balance, dead-ball ability and vision made him far and away the best of his generation. He skated on ice in Kiev, dribbled round Czechoslovakia at Italia ’90 and missed THAT penalty four years later.

Never fully loved by Serie A’s big three he remained revered by lovers of classy football. The Buddhist boy who captured the heart of a Catholic country.

Previous editions

Roberto Bettega: 100-word hero #2

Giancarlo Antognoni: 100-word hero #1