Claudio Paul Caniggia (Henderson, Buenos Aires, 9th January 1967) is an Argentine former professional footballer who played as forward. He is known for his career in Europe and the Argentina national team, nicknamed ‘The Son of the Wind’ for his speed as a player.
With the Argentina national team, he was runner-up in the 1990 Italy World Cup, scoring two memorable goals: against Brazil in the second round, and against Italy in the semi-finals. In addition, he won the 1991 Copa América, the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 1993 Artemio Franchi Cup with his national team. In these three championships, he formed an effective forward line with Gabriel Batistuta, the famous ‘Cani and Bati’ duo, as they understood each other wonderfully within the playing field
Caniggia played for River Plate (1985-88), Hellas Verona (1988-89), Atalanta (1989-92 and 1999-2000), Rome (1992-93), Sport Lisboa e Benfica (1994-95), Boca Juniors (1995-96 and 1997-98), Dundee Football Club (2000-01) and Rangers Football Club (2001-03) and then played in Qatar Sports Club, where he retired professionally in 2004. In 2012 he came back to professional football at the age of 45 hired by the Wembley Football Club of the English ninth tier. The goal was participating in the historic Football Association Challenge Cup. He played 2 matches and scored a goal.
He arrived at Club Atlético Boca Juniors, from Portuguese team Sport Lisboa e Benfica, in 1995. With Silvio Marzolini as coach he did not reach his true level, but regained his wings during the cycle of Carlos Salvador Bilardo. That tournament he reached new heights: the team hammered River Plate 4–1 at La Bombonera and ‘Bird Caniggia’ scored three goals. Carlos Bianchi, who arrived in '98, did not take him into account. He emigrated to Italian team Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio.
Caniggia played for the Argentina national team, where he scored 16 goals. He participated in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, as well as in the 1994 and 2002 editions. He also played for the Argentina national team in the 1987, 1989 and 1991 Copa América (they were champions), the 1992 Confederations Cup (they were champions) and the 1993 Artemio Franchi Cup (they were champions).
1990 FIFA World Cup: His world debut for the 1990 Argentina national team came against the Cameroon national team, coming off the bench in the second half. With Caniggia's entry, the national team improved its level thanks to his power and speed. He tried to draw several times. ‘Bird’ managed to get two Cameroonians sent off because of their rough play. With the passing of the matches, Argentina was improving its level and was able to move to the round of 16. There, the Brazil national team dominated much of the match against the Argentine team. But in minute 82, thanks to a magical pass by Diego Armando Maradona (with nutmeg included with a Brazilian) and a brilliant move of Caniggia, who dribbled past goalkeeper Taffarel, they remained in the tournament. In the quarter-finals, the penalties and the hands of Sergio Goycochea allowed the team to overcome Yugoslavia. The semi-finals seemed to be the end of the adventure, as they had to face the undefeated host team Italy. But another goal by Claudio Caniggia and Sergio Goycochea's penalties brought them to the final. In that match, Caniggia received the yellow card that would prevent him from playing the final against Germany for accumulation of cards. In the final, the absence of the "Bird" in the forward line was felt: the team lost much of their offensive chances, failed to score goals, and the Germans eventually won thanks to a controversial penalty.
1994 FIFA World Cup: After a long suspension for doping, Claudio Caniggia returns to the Argentine national team a month before the 1994 USA World Cup. ‘El Cani’ manages to play the World Cup at a high level, scoring two goals against Nigeria, one of them the 1,500th of all World Cups. His participation would end in the game against the Bulgaria national team, he was injured in minute 26.
In the next World Cup, Argentina's coach Daniel Passarella capped him for several matches of the World Cup qualifier, but ultimately did not capped him for the World Cup, because of an injury from which he recovered at the last minute.
2002 FIFA World Cup: He had a brief comeback when playing for the 2002 Argentina national team capped by Marcelo Bielsa although he did not play any matches and was expelled from the substitutes' bench in the match against Sweden, which was decisive for the group's standings.
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