Abel Balbo played midfielder as a boy. A Scudetto with Roma, cups in Parma

Midfielder or striker? Definitely the latter, but not while he was a kid. Abel Balbo played in midfield until he was fourteen. In Sunday tournaments, with his uncle who was also his coach. Then, however, he goes to San Nicolas, the birthplace of an Italian-Argentine football legend like Omar Sivori. He remained there until he was seventeen, changing his role and earning a tryout for Independiente, the king of Cups in South American football. Here everything changes, because his sister is the vice president’s secretary at Newell’s Old Boys and decides to organize an audition for Abel – who will do well – on his team.

He scored a lot, a lot in the youth teams, triggering a rapid surge. 32 goals in 15 games in the last year, the Rosarini win the championship and Verona makes him sign a contract. Bagnoli rejected him, sending him back on loan to River Plate: here he gained the Argentina national team, with Udinese deciding to sign him with Nestor Sensini. In his first season in Serie A he scored 11 goals, but Udinese were relegated. The following year 22, without going up, then 11 again, this time with promotion.

The following championship was his consecration: 21 goals plus one in the play-off, in Serie A, with Roma calling him. Inter was also there, who already had four foreigners in Pancev, Sammer, Shalimov and Sosa. Balbo is thus the first purchase of the Sensi era, 18 billion, with five excellent seasons. At Parma he also won the Italian Cup and the UEFA Cup, when he returned to the Giallorossi he won the Scudetto. Today Abel Balbo turns 58 years old.