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In Society

‘Where My Skills End, My Faith Begins’

Netflix releases biopic of SGI-Italy member Roberto Baggio’s rise as one of the world’s greatest soccer players.

SGI member and beloved Italian soccer great Roberto Baggio plays his final career game, May, 16, 2004, Milan. Baggio dons an SGI tri-colored captain’s armband. Photo by Carolo Baroncini / Getty Images

Netflix’s new release Baggio: The Divine Ponytail pays tribute to Italian soccer great Roberto Baggio and the spirit behind his famous moniker—a nod to his signature hairstyle, talent and strong faith in Nichiren Buddhism.

The hour-and-a-half biographical film not only centers on his career highs but also on the many trials and tribulations he faces in his 22-year-journey, including his tumultuous debut as a young player, tense relationships with his father and coaches and the series of major injuries that nearly ended his career. Baggio’s discovery and practice of Buddhism, however, empower him to find the inner strength to transform all adversity into triumph.

As one of the best soccer players of all time and, arguably, Italy’s most beloved, Baggio’s story is one of perseverance and inner transformation. In one scene, he declares: “Where my skills end, my faith begins,” referring to his Buddhist practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. In the film’s conclusion, Baggio gives thanks to his “teacher of life, Daisaku Ikeda.”

In 2011—seven years after retiring from the world of soccer—Baggio became the first soccer player inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame. His example continues to inspire people the world over.

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff

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