Italia ’90 Stars – Where Are They Now?
Twenty-five years on and names like Schillaci, Milla and Baggio still evoke wonderful memories of a dramatic tournament, yet one that is often criticised for negative tactics.
We take a look at what happened the stars who shone brightly during Italia ’90.
Milla’s four goals and subsequent hip-wriggling celebrations would have made him a star at any tournament. The fact he was 38 and playing for surprise package Cameroon exacerbated his appeal.
The striker began his career as far back as 1968 but returned for the 1994 World Cup, where he became the oldest goalscorer ever at the ripe old age of 42.
The super sub’s heroics at Italia ’90 weren’t exactly rewarded with vast riches – the first club to approach him after the tournament was Division Four side Walsall.
In 2006 he was named Best African Player of the Last Century and is now a humanitarian in his home country, working as an Ambassador for the likes of HIV/Aids programmes.
‘Toto’ Schillaci was an unlikely World Cup hero, winning only one Italian cap prior to the tournament. By the time he ended he was a bona fide world-wide star, so famous that in my rural Irish village there were dogs and even blokes who “looked Italian” named after him.
His bulging eyes after scoring became as iconic as Milla’s corner flag celebrations and became a regular sight – he finished the tournament as top scorer with six goals.
However, his club career never lived up to his Italia ’90 achievements and he retired in 1997 after three years in Japan’s J. League. Schillaci had a brief foray into politics in his home town of Palermo, where he now runs a soccer academy.
Caniggia may only have scored two goals at the tournament to help Argentina reach the final, but a foul on him in the opening match – a shock defeat to Cameroon – remains one of the most iconic images of the tournament.
His dribbling evaded two tackles before eventually succumbing to Benjamin Massing’s foul – so fierce, the Cameroonian’s boots came off.
He played in two further World Cups but his club career became that of a journeyman, playing for clubs as diverse as Roma, Dundee and Qatar SC during a period that included a 13-month ban for cocaine use.
Caniggia has since run soccer schools in Spain and regularly plays in charity games – well sometimes. A Masters match last year caused controversy when the 10,000 fans realised former Newcastle player Daniel Cardone was masquerading as Caniggia – who had apparently missed his flight.
The Czech striker’s five goals helped guide his country to the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by eventual champions Germany.
His hat-trick against Costa Rica and a brace against USA helped his finish the tournament as second highest scorer.
His displays earned him a move to Genoa, where he enjoyed moderate success and hero status. He has remained in the northern Italian city, where he runs a nightclub and is a pundit on local TV.
The “Divine Ponytail” scored arguably the goal of the tournament – a mazy run against Czechoslovakia that culminated in him slotting it past the keeper.
He had just earned a world record £8 million move to Juventus, where he won the Serie A title, Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup. He won a further league title at AC Milan, and retired in 2004.
Since then he’s worked as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, been President of the technical sector of the Italian FA and is a devout Buddhist, spending much of his time in Japan.