Author Archive for Emmet Gates


Gabriel Batistuta at 50: celebrating seven of his greatest goals

Was there a more exotic footballer in the 1990s than Batigol? This collection of his best goals suggests not By Emmet Gates for The Gentleman UltraThe 1990s was perhaps the last great decade for centre-forwards. With coaches yet to shift to one-striker…


Remembering Michael Jackson’s peculiar relationship with football

The King of Pop loved the Nice shirt, had a statue at Fulham, raised money for Exeter City and was a very astute punditBy Emmet Gates for The Set Pieces, of the Sport Network“Good luck to all of the World Cup finalists this weekend!” read one post on T…


When Marcello Lippi joined Juventus and knocked Milan off their perch

Marcello Lippi, who turns 70 today, has lifted just about every trophy on offer to an Italian manager, but winning the double with Juventus in 1995 remains a truly special achievementBy Emmet Gates for The Gentleman UltraIn any discussion about the gre…


Serie A’s unlikely top goalscorers: from Michel Platini to Luca Toni

Edin Dzeko, Dries Mertens and Andrea Belotti have battled for the golden boot this season, keeping alive Serie A’s habit of producing an unexpected top scorer

By Emmet Gates for The Gentleman Ultra, of the Guardian Sport Network

Gonzalo Higuaín scored 36 goals in 35 league games for Napoli last season to pick up the Capocannoniere. When he made his move to Juventus – the team that has now won the Serie A title for the last six seasons in a row – in the summer he would surely have been expecting to win another golden boot this season. But it hasn’t worked out like that. Instead, the battle for the Capocannoniere has been played out by Edin Dzeko, Dries Mertens and Andrea Belotti.

In the end, Dzeko triumphed with 29 goals, as many as any Roma player has scored in a single campaign since the 1930-31 season. Dzeko scored eight goals in Roma’s last eight matches, a remarkable turnaround when you consider he had only scored eight goals last season. Mertens finished behind Dzeko on 28 goals, an impressive total for a winger who had scored five last season. Belotti had to settle for third place in the race for the golden boot, but his return of 25 goals in 29 matches was an exceptional achievement for a 23-year-old in a Torino team that finished ninth.

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Remembering Dino, the other Baggio

Sharing a surname with the best player of his generation meant that Dino Baggio was forever living in someone else’s shadow, but the former Torino, Juventus and Parma midfielder deserves to remembered as one of Italian football’s greats
By Emmet Gates for These Football Times, part of the Guardian Sport Network

It’s 23 June and USA 94 is nearly a week old. If you happened to miss the Italy v Norway match and, as one did in those days, checked Ceefax to see the headline “Baggio heads winner”, you might reasonably have assumed that Roberto Baggio had saved Italy from a surprising early exit from the World Cup. Italy’s talisman and creator-in-chief was the planet’s finest player, having won the Ballon d’Or the previous December and scored 17 league goals for Juventus in the season before the tournament.

Ray Houghton’s winner for the Republic of Ireland in the opening match of Group E meant Arrigo Sacchi’s team had no alternative but to win their second game against the dull-but-resolute Norway. In the 68th minute Italy, who had been reduced to 10 men earlier in the match, were awarded a free-kick on the left hand side of the pitch. Beppe Signori, with his pint-sized left foot, whipped a glorious ball into the box and on to the head of the onrushing Baggio. He guided the ball past Erik Thorstvedt to give Italy the lead and eventually the victory.

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