The tale of two Italian number 10s and the Serie A goals record
Back in 2011 Francesco Totti surpassed the great Roberto Baggio in the all-time Serie A goalscoring chart to become the 5th highest scorer in Serie A history. He now sits in 3rd place just three goals shy of breaking yet another record.
On that day in 2011, when scoring his 206th goal in the league (all for Roma), taking him past the legendary fantasista, Baggio (who scored 205 goals in Serie A over his 19 year top flight career), I took a closer look at the goal records these great number 10s had produced in their respective Serie A careers. Here are those findings…
Although il divin codino dropped down to 6th on the all-time scoring chart, he still boasted a better goals-per-game ratio than the Giallorossi captain, with his 205 goals coming from 452 appearances in a career blighted by serious injuries.
Totti’s? Was from 471 games…and counting.
However, a closer look at their goalscoring achievements revealed just how little there was between their records at the time; goals scored with the right and the left foot: Totti shades 89 to 84 and 29 to 25. On set-pieces: Baggio led with 21 to 14 on free-kicks and 69 to 57 on penalties. Perhaps the greatest stat however was that both had scored an astounding 96 decisive goals each in their careers (those being either winners or equalisers for their team).
When passing Baggio’s record, the inevitable comparisons began throughout the media, with particular attention being paid to both player’s contrasting World Cup fortunes in 1994 and 2006. To Totti’s credit, he saw through the parlour game right away:
I won it and he didn’t, is that what you’re saying? But he was only playing with one leg,
in reference to Baggio’s heroics when he practically dragged the Azzurri to the ‘94 final whilst being injured.
Upon hearing the record breaking news at the time, the ever gracious Baggio paid tribute for surpassing his tally:
I compliment Totti. To score 206 goals in Serie A is a great achievement. I don’t care if he has overtaken me in the standings because he is a great player. He is an example. With his passion and love for this sport, Francesco is the symbol of the fact that you can always go further. He is one of the last true number 10s.
The Roma captain who was at one time seen as the natural successor to Baggio’s number 10 Azzurri shirt was equally in complimentary mood:
I am happy to have broken another record and to reach a champion like Baggio. He was a great player, someone who made history.
Totti wasn’t done yet however. Whilst showing off a t-shirt that read in English ‘The King of Rome is not dead,’ he stated directly after the match that he was in no mood to ease up:
I know what I can give and that will never die. I am happy to have achieved another record and hope to continue at this level.
The Roma fantasista has indeed continued and with 11 more strikes, climbed into 3rd position on the list seeing him overtake other greats, namely Giuseppe Meazza and Jose Altafini.
Now just three goals away, 2nd spot is a real possibility – that place is presently occupied by former Milan hitman Gunnar Nordahl who bagged 225 goals in the Italian top flight.
However, probably safe and sound sitting top of the list is Silvio Piola, who scored a whopping 274 goals.