Roma baptism for veteran Batistuta

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The Independent Football

Gabriel Batistuta makes his league debut for Roma when they entertain Bologna in tomorrow's live game on Channel 4 as Serie A finally kicks off. The veteran Argentinian striker, 31, cost Roma £22.4m when Batigol, for years a legend at Fiorentina, finally decided to move on during the summer.

Gabriel Batistuta makes his league debut for Roma when they entertain Bologna in tomorrow's live game on Channel 4 as Serie A finally kicks off. The veteran Argentinian striker, 31, cost Roma £22.4m when Batigol, for years a legend at Fiorentina, finally decided to move on during the summer.

Batistuta, who scored his first goal for Roma in their 7-0 Uefa Cup win over Slovenia's Nova Gorica on Thursday, will line up against a Bologna side which has signed Tomas Locatelli and Ricardo Cruz during the summer.

Fiorentina, out of the Uefa Cup after a 5-3 aggregate defeat to Tirol Innsbruck, face a tough opening game away to Parma. Parma sold the Argentinian forward Hernan Crespo to Lazio for a short-lived world record £35.7m, but have bought the Yugoslav striker Savo Milosevic, who will make his league debut alongside the fit-again Brazilian Marcio Amoroso in attack. However, the midfielders Mattias Almeyda and Sergio Conceicão, who joined from Lazio as part of the Crespo deal, are both doubtful.

For Fiorentina, the Portugal striker Nuno Gomes, bought to replace Batistuta, should make his Serie A debut after scoring a hat-trick in a recent Italian Cup win over Salernitana.

Lazio begin their title defence at newly-promoted Atalanta without new signings Crespo and Angelo Peruzzi and will need to recover from their 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in the Champions' League.

The strikers Hakan Sukur and Robbie Keane will make their league debuts for Internazionale at Reggina, while Roberto Baggio will make his league debut for newly-promoted Brescia, who knocked Juventus out of the Italian Cup last Saturday.

ITALIAN SERIE A FIXTURES: This afternoon: Bari v Verona. Tonight: Napoli v Juventus. Tomorrow afternoon: Fiorentina v Parma; Milan v Vicenza; Perugia v Lecce; Reggina v Internazionale; Roma v Bologna; Udinese v Brescia. Tomorrow night: Atalanta v Lazio.

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