Friday, January 30, 2015

Lombardy Greatest All-Time Team

Walter Zenga, Riccardo Ferri and Franco Baresi

Please also look at my all-time Italy team here and the All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Italian diaspora
Southern ItalyCentral Italy.
Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy)Lombardy
Italy after 1982
Italy between 1938 and 1982.
What if Italy went to Euro 1992

Lombardy is the most populous and richest region in Italy.   About 10 million people live in Lombardy, forming more than one-sixth of Italy's population, and more than a fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in the region, making it the most populous, richest and most productive region in the country. It is also one of the top regions in Europe for the same criteria.  Lombardy is also the Italian region with most UNESCO World Heritage Sites—Italy (tied with China) having the highest number of World Heritage Sites in the world. The region is also famous for its historical figures such as Virgil, Pliny the Elder, Ambrose, Caravaggio, Claudio Monteverdi, Antonio Stradivari, Cesare Beccaria, Alessandro Volta, Alessandro Manzoni, and popes John XXIII and Paul VI.

It is also the home of Atalanta, Brescia, AC Milan and Inter Milan.  While some of the players on those great clubs came from other regions in Italy, Lombardy produced a lot of great footballers.  

If there were an All-Time World Cup, Lombardy could create a team that is as good as any country in the world and this would be 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  All players were born in Lombardy. The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.
Demetrio Albertini and Paulo Maldini


GK: Walter Zenga
Zenga was considered one of Italy's greatest keepers.   He played 58 times for Italy, notably at the 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy. He had five clean sheet, a total of 518 minutes without conceding a goal, a record still standing in the WC Finals.  He played mainly for Inter Milan, but also with Sampdoria, Padova and New England Revolution in the MLS of the USA. He won two UEFA Cups with Inter Milan.
Walter Zenga
GK:  Christian Abbiati
He spent almost his entire career with AC Milan with various loan spells.  He started his career with Monza, and later played more than 300 official matches for Milan. He also spent loan spells at Borgosesia Calcio, Juventus, Torino and Atletico Madrid. His honours include three Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, two Supercoppa Italiana victories, one UEFA Champions League and one UEFA Super Cup.  He was only capped 3 times for Italy.

GK: Luciano Castellini
Luciano Castellini earned a single cap for Italy in 1977 against Belgium.  He went to 1974 World Cup Finals as the third keeper behind Dino Zoff and Enrico Albertosi,.  For his club career, he started with Monza.  He played for Torino from 1970 to 1978.  He was a club hero with Torino, winning the Serie A title in 1976. From 1978 to 1985, he played for Napoli.

CB/RB: Giuseppe Bergomi
Giuseppe Bergomi was one of Inter Milan's greatest defender, winning one scudetto and three UEFA Cups with them.  He played his entire career with Inter Milan.  He held the record of most appearance in the UEFA Cup. Bergomi won the World Cup in 1982 and appeared in the 1986 and 1990 World Cup Finals. He was capped 81 times between 1982 and 1998.

RB/LB: Gianluca Zambrotta 
Gianluca Zambrotta was one of the best fullbacks in the world during his prime.  He could play both rightback and leftback. He had 98 caps between 1999 and 2010.  He was a member of the 2006 World Cup winning team..  He was selected to the team of the tournament.  He played mainly with Juventus, but also played for Barceloina, Bari, AC Milan, etc.

CB: Pietro Vierchowood
Nicknamed lo Zar ("the Tsar"), Pietro Vierchowood was the son of an Ukrainian Red Army soldier. He played 562 Serie A matches, and is the seventh-highest appearance holder of all time in Serie A.  He played for Como, Fiorentina, Roma, Sampdoria and Juventus, where he won his only Champions League in 1996.  He went to three World Cup Finals.

SW: Franco Baresi
Franco Baresi was considered Italy's greatest libero.  He was capped 82 times between 1982 and 1994.  He led the Azzurri to the semifinal of the World Cup in 1990 and then, the Final in 1994.  However, he missed most of the tournament in 1994 through an injury, playing in the Final.  He was a part of the 1982 World Cup winning team, but he did not play a single match.  He was a one club man with AC Milan. He is their captain for 15 years, where he won three European Cups and 6 Serie A titles. 
Franco Baresi
SW: Gaetano Scirea
Scirea was the starting libero for Italy's World Cup winning team in Spain 1982 and Juventus throughout the 1980's.  He is considered one of the greatest defenders ever played the game.  He is one of only five players in history to have won all international trophies for football clubs recognized by UEFA and FIFA.  He had 78 caps for Italy. He also played in 1978 and 1986 World Cup Finals as well as the European Championship of 1980.

CB: Alessandro Costacurta
Alessandro Costacurta was Baresi's partner at central defense for both club and country. He was a long term serving member of AC Milan.  He was a part of 5 Champions' League winning team for AC Milan.  However, he only played 59 times for Italy largely because of injuries. He played in three major tournaments for Italy, leading Italy to the Final of USA 1994.

CB: Riccardo Ferri
Riccardo Ferri spent most of his career with Inter Milan, where he is considerd to be a legend.  With them, he won two UEFA Cups in 1991 and 1994, and a Serie A title in 1989.  Between 1994 and 1996, he played with Sampdoria along side his teammate Walter Zenga. He had 45 caps.  He played at Euro 1989 and the 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy. 

CB/LB: Renzo De Vecchi
He was probably the first star player in Italian football.  His nickname was "The Son of God".  He started his career with Milan. He later moved to Genoa in 1913, winning 3 Italian League titles during his time with the club. Between 1927 and 1929, he worked as a player-manager for them. He was the youngest ever national team player for Italy.  In total, he made 43 appearances for Italy between 1910 and 1925, playing at the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympic Games. 

CB/LB: Paolo Maldini 
Paolo Maldini was considered the greatest leftback of all-time.  He won 26 trophies in his 25 year career with AC Milan, including 5 Champions' league trophies. With Italy, he took part in three European Championships, and four World Cups. He reached the finals of the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000, and the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1988, and was selected into the all-star teams for 5 tournaments. He was capped 126 times for Italy.
Paolo Maldini
LB: Giacinto Facchetti
Until the emerge of Paolo Maldini, Giacinto Facchetti was considered to be Italy's greatest left back. He spent his entire career with Inter Milan from 1960 to 1978.  He was the star wingback of La Grande Inter where they won back-to-back European Cups in the 1960's.  He was capped 94 times for Italy and also won the Euro 1968 with Italy. He played in 1966, 1970 and 1974 World Cup Finals.
Giacinto Facchetti
DM: Gabriele Oriali
Gabriele Oriali was the starting defensive midfielder at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.  For Italy, he had 28 caps between 1978 and 1983. He also played in Euro 1980 hosted by Italy.  He was a great destroyer at his time.  He played mainly for Inter Milan, but also with Fiorentina. He won two scudettos and two Italian Cups with Inter Milan.

CM: Andrea Pirlo 
Andrea Pirlo started as an attack midfielder with Inter Milan without success before becoming a regista with AC Milan.  He redefined the regista role in recent years.  He won the World Cup in 2006 and took Italy to the Final of Euro 2012.  He played over 280 matches for AC Milan, winning two Champions' League titles.  He switched to Juventus late in his career and also played for New York City FC in the MLS.
Andrea Pirlo
CM: Demetrio Albertini
Demetrio Albertini was the deep-lying playmaker of the great AC Milan team of the 1990's.  He won 5 league titles in the 1990's and the Champions' League title in 1994. At the international level, he played for his country 79 times.  He went to the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, Euro 96, and Euro 2000. He was voted into the team of tournament at Euro 2000, where Italy finished second.

AM: Valentino Mazzola
Valentino Mazzola was one of the best players in the world during the 1940's.  He was the captain and symbol of the "Grande Torino", the team recognised as one of the strongest in the world during the second half of the 1940s, with whom Mazzola won five Serie A championships.  His career, however, was limited by the War.  He never played in the World Cup.  His life was cut short by the Superga Air Disaster in 1949.  His son is Sandro Mazzola, who became a star player for Italy in the 1970's.

RW: Angelo Domenghini  
Domenghini began his professional career with Atalanta in 1960. He then moved to Inter Milan in 1964, and was a member of manager Helenio Herrera's highly successful "Grande Inter" squad.  He was capped on 33 times for Italy between 1963 and 1972. He notably scored the equalizer in the 80th minute against Yugoslavia in the Final of Euro 1968. Italy then went on to win the replay 2–0. He later went on to take part in the 1970 World Cup. 

LW: Roberto Donadoni
Roberto Donadoni was one of Italy's greatest wingers.  He was a vital part of AC Milan's squad under both Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, winning six Serie A titles, three European Cups, four Italian Supercups, three European Super Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups during his time at Milan. Between 1986 and 1996, he earned over 60 caps for Italy.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1990 and 1994, and the European Championship in 1988 and 1996.
Roberto Donadoni

Giuseppe Meazza is one of Italy's greatest players. At the international level, he had 53 caps, scorimg 33 times. He led Italy winning two World Cups in 1934 and 1938.  He was probably the best player in the 1930's.  He was the best player at the 1934 World Cup Finals ands as captain in 1938. At the club level, he played mainly for Inter Milan in the 1930s, scoring 242 goals in 365 games for the club. He also played for AC Milan, Juventus, Varese, and Atalanta.  The home stadium for both AC Milan and Inter Milan in San Siro is named after him.

ST: Roberto Boninsegna
Roberto Boninsegna was a key player as Italy reached the World Cup Final in 1970, scoring Italy's lone goal at the Final against Brazil.  He also played in the World Cup Finals in 1974, but was overlooked for the Euro 1968. For his club career, his best years were with Inter Milan, where he won a single scudetto.  In 1976, he joined Juventus, winning two more scudetto, an Italian Cup and an UEFA Cup.

ST:  Silvio Piola
Silvio Piola is one of Italy's greatest footballers.  He is the the all-time leading scorer in the Italian league.  He was third all-time leading scorer for the Azzurri even through his career was cut short by the World War II.  Piola won the 1938 World Cup with Italy, scoring two goals in the final, ending the tournament as the second best player and the second highest scorer. In 2011, he was posthumously inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.

ST: Luigi Riva
Luigi Riva was the all-time leading scorer for the Italy.  At international level, Riva won the 1968  European Championship and was runner-up at the 1970 World Cup with the Italian national team; he also took part at the 1974 World Cup. With 35 goals in 42 appearances (in all official competitions) between 1965 and 1974. He was Serie A top scorer for three seasons. He was probably the best ever player at Cagliari, leading them to win their only scudetti in 1970.
Luigi Riva

Honorable Mention
Marco Delvecchio, Pierluigi Casiraghi, Giuseppe Signori,  Riccardo Montolivo, Giuseppe Baresi, Sandro Salvadore, Antonio Cabrini, Aldo Campatelli, Matteo Darmian, Giuseppe Favalli, Daniele Massaro, Aristide Guarneri, Ugo Locatelli, Gianluca Vialli, Carlo Annovazzi, Moreno Torricelli, Daniele Bonera, Giacomo Losi, Mario Rigamonti, Ugo Locatelli, Giovanni Trapattoni, Luciano Re Cecconi.

Squad Explanation
-- Giuseppe Bergomi, Franco Baresi, Gaetano Scirea, Paolo Maldini,  Giacinto Facchetti, Silvio Piola, Andrea Pirlo, Valentino Mazzola and Luigi Riva are on my All-Time Italy team.
-- Lombardy is the home of AC Milan and Inter Milan. San Siro was actually officially known as Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.  Piedmont is near Lombardy.  Many players also played for Juventus and Torino FC. 
-- The team is relatively young team, given its history of the region.  Giuseppe Meazza, Renzo De Vecchi and Silvio Piola are the only two players selected from before the 1930's, where Italy won two World Cups.  Ugo Locatelli only made honorable mention.  He was also from the 1938 World Cup winning team alongside Giuseppe Meazza and Silvio PiolaValentino Mazzola played in the 1940's.  
-- Only two players were on the 2006 World Cup winning team. They were Gianluca Zambrotta and Andreas Pirlo.  The region was under represented.
-- On the 1982 World Cup team, I have Giuseppe Bergomi, Franco Baresi, Gaetano Scirea, Pietro Vierchowod and Gabriele Oriali. Antonio Cabrini just missed out.
-- Giacinto Facchetti and Angelo Domenghini are the only members of La Grande Inter Milan.  Roberto Boninsegna joined Inter Milan in 1969 after that era.
-- AC Milan's great team of the 1980's are also well represented here with Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta and Roberto Donadoni.  Daniele Massaro also made honorable mention.
-- Atalanta is probably the third best club in the region.  Giuseppe Meazza, Angelo Domenghini  and Roberto Donadoni played for them.  Of course, they were better known for their careers in Inter Milan and AC Milan, respectively.  Coincidently, both played on the wings.  Antonio Cabrini also played for them before he joined Juventus.
-- Luigi Riva is the only players on this team who did not play for any of the four clubs. Riva did start his career with AC Legnano in Lombardy, which was playing in Serie C during his career there. His career was linked with Cagliari, where he was their greatest ever player.
-- Giuseppe Signori who was on the honorable mention also did not play for AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus or Torino.  He played in the youth team of Inter Milan, but was released before becoming a professional.
-- The team has strengths in all-department.  Every player, except the two backup keepers considered to be the greatest in Italy's history. The goalkeeper position is considered weak.  Walter Zenga is the only one considered as one of the all-time greats. Both Luciano Castellini and Christian Abbiati had limited international experience.
-- I usually brought 8 defenders, but this team has ten.
-- It is also the home of three of the greatest leftbacks in football's history, namely Paolo Maldini, Giacinto Facchetti and Antonio Cabrini. Because of Paolo Maldini and  Giacinto Facchetti, Antonio Cabrini had been ignored by many of my all-time teams.  Renzo De Vecchi and Gianluca Zambrotta can also play there.
-- Gianluca Zambrotta can play on both sides of the fullback position. I probably used him as a rightback.  He is from Como.
-- Gaetano Scirea and Franco Baresi are probably two of the greatest sweepers ever played the game.
-- Giuseppe Baresi was left off the team because there were too many great central defenders.  He is probably one of Inter Milan's greatest players. His brother is Franco.  Ironically, he was edged out by Riccardo Ferri and Giuseppe Bergomi, who were all-time greats with Inter Milan as well.
-- Andrea Pirlo replaced Demetrio Albertini's position on the national team.  When Pirlo retired, Riccardo Montolivo is basically Italy's deep lying playmaker.  All three of them were "regista".
-- Andreas Pirlo was born in Brescia, Lombardy.  He made his Serie A debut with Brescia. The name "Pirlo" is also the name of a Brescian drink.  It was not named after him.  It is a traditional aperitivo drunk in the region that is very similar to the Venetian Spritz.
-- Sandro Mazzola was born in Turin, Piedmont, when his father was playing with Torino. His rival Gianni Rivera was also born in Piedmont.  Mazzola is considered Inter Milan's greatest player while Rivera is AC Milan.  Their rivalry was well-known in Italy's football history.  Coincidently, both were not born here.
-- Cesare Maldini was born in Trieste.  His son Paolo was born in Milan after he retired from playing football.   
-- Attilio Lombardo is from Southern Italy.  
-- Gianluca Vialli also did not play on any Lombardy club team.  He grew up in a rich family in Cremona, where his family home was the 60-room Castello di Belgioioso in Cremona.  He started his career with Cremonese.  Antonio Cabrini also came from that club.  Both only made honorable mention.



  1. I'm trying to do a Fifa Career Mode of AC Milan, fielding only players born in the Lomabardy Region. Similar to Bilbao's policy. CAn you help me?

  2. You forgot to consider Angelo domenghini who was a great attacking winger, he played for Italy in the 60's and 70's and played in the 1970 world cup final, he was born in Lombardy and didn't even get an honourable mention!