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Italian soccer legend Roberto Baggio suffers head injuries from armed break-in at his home

By Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN

(CNN) — Roberto Baggio, widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players in history, suffered head injuries when a group of armed criminals entered his Altavilla Vicentina home in northern Italy on Thursday evening, according to local police.

No further details could be given due to an ongoing investigation into the incident, police said.

The break-in happened during the European Championship match between Italy and Spain, which Baggio was watching on TV with his family, according to local media reports.

Baggio tried to defend his family and was hit on the head with a gun, reports said.

The incident began around 10 p.m. local time in Italy and lasted for about 40 minutes, Baggio told reporters outside the hospital in Arzignano, northern Italy, where he received stitches on his head for the wound.

He and his family members were locked in a room while the burglars ransacked the home. The total value of what was stolen has not been reported, according to local media.

The villa and grounds had security cameras and police have not made any arrests yet, according to local police.

“First of all, my family and I would like to thank everyone for the great affection we have received,” Baggio told ANSA in a statement.

“Anything can happen in situations like this, and, fortunately, the violence I suffered only caused a few stitches, bruises and a lot of fear. Now, I have to overcome the fear.”

Luca Zaia, the president of Italy’s Veneto region, said in a statement published by local media: “I express my closeness and solidarity to Roberto Baggio and his family, and I am sure I can send him the embrace of all the Venetians who made people dream with his unparalleled skill on the grass of international pitches.

“I hope that the ‘Divine Codino’ [the ‘Divine Ponytail’], the symbolic champion of our football and our region, a person we feel close and friendly, can soon recover together with his family from this bad evening and from the wounds for which he was followed and treated by the staff of the health facilities in Arzignano with whom I have kept in touch.”

Zaia added: “The experience he lived in his home, attacked and robbed by unspeakable criminals, compares his to other families who have unfortunately suffered similar experiences and, as in all cases, we trust that the criminals can be brought to justice soon.”

Baggio – who played for Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan and the Italian national team among others – retired in 2004 and runs a small agricultural business on his expansive villa in Altavilla Vicentina, according to local media. He practices Buddhism and owns a modest vehicle, according to press reports and his social media.

The 57-year-old made 56 appearances for Italy, scoring 27 goals, and won the Ballon d’Or in 1993, the trophy awarded annually to the world’s best player.

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