The joy 'Batigol' gave to millions was succeeded by great personal pain following his exit from football
Argentina icon Gabriel Batistuta has revealed that the excruciating ankle pain he felt after retiring from the game led him to ask a specialist to amputate his legs.
Now 45, the former striker enjoyed a glittering career with several big teams in Serie A, most notably Fiorentina, where he spent almost a decade, scoring 168 goals.
However, Argentina's record World Cup goalscorer hasn't had a particularly enjoyable retirement.
“I left football and overnight I couldn't walk,” Batistuta told TyC Sports. “I wet the bed even though the bathroom was only three meters away. It was 4am and I knew if I stood my ankle would kill me.
“I went to see Doctor Avanzi (a specialist in Orthopaedics and trauma) and told him to cut off my legs. He looked at me and told me I was crazy.
"I couldn't bare it any longer. I can't put in to words just how bad the pain was.”
The South American idol has since had less drastic treatment in the form of screws, and although only one leg was augmented, he is now able to enjoy golf without much trouble.
“I chose the right leg, the doctor couldn't do both,” he said. “I didn't care. My problem is that I have no cartilage or tendons. My 86 kilos are supported by bones alone. That's what generated the pain.
“I'm much better now than I was three years ago.”