Thursday, January 29, 2015

Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy) Greatest All-Time Team

Alessandro Del Piero and Roberto Baggio

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

What if Italy qualified for Euro 1992

Northern Italy is the most developed and productive area of the country, with one of the highest GDPs per capita in Europe. It was the first part of Italy to become industrialised in the last half of the 19th century; the so-called industrial triangle was formed by the manufacturing centres of Milan and Turin, as well as the seaport of Genoa. Since then, the industrial core of the area has shifted eastward; the current industrial triangle consists of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna. A similar shift happened for GDP per capita, and the eastern regions (including Lombardy) have since become wealthier than Piedmont and Liguria. With a 2008 nominal GDP estimated at €772,676 million, Northern Italy accounts for 54.8% of the Italian economy, despite having just 45.8% of the population.

Northern Italy is consisted Valle d'Aosta, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Trentino Alto-Adige. Lombardy is so rich with football talents.  I have created a separated all-time team for them.  This is my all-time 23 member team for the rest of Northern Italy.  

This us The region is home of Juventus, Torino, Sampdoria, Genoa, Udinese, Chievo Verona, Cesena, Parma and Bologna. 

GK: Dino Zoff (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
Dino Zoff captained the World Cup winning side in 1982 at the age of 40.  He held the Serie A appearance record until 2006. He was also a part of the team that won the European Championship in 1968, starting most of the matches. He achieved great club success with Juventus, winning 6 Serie A titles, 2 Coppa Italias, and an UEFA Cup, also reaching two European Champions' Cup finals in 1972-73 and 1982-83 seasons. He also played for Udinese, Mantova and Napoli.
Dino Zoff
GK: Giampiero Combi (Piedmont)
Combi won the 1934 WC with Italy.  He was considered one of the best in the world during his time.  He spent his entire career with Juventus.  He played 351 games in Serie A, winning five titles – in 1926 (having conceded only 18 goals during the season), 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1934 as part of the first golden age of the club with a record of five championship victories in a row, a feat known as Il Quinquennio d'Oro (The Golden Quinquennium).

GK: Lorenzo Buffon (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)  
Buffon was one of the best keepers in the 1950's and early 1960's.  He helped AC Milan to reach the Final of the 1958 European Cup Final.  He also played for Genoa C.F.C. (1959–60), F.C. Internazionale Milano (1960–63), and ACF Fiorentina (1963–64). His cousin is Gianluigi Buffon's Grandfather.  He had 15 caps and went to the 1962 World Cup Finals.

RB: Tarcisio Burgnich (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
Throughout his career, Burgnich played for Udinese, Juventus, Palermo, Internazionale, and Napoli; although he won titles with both Juventus and Napoli, he is best known for his time with Inter Milan, where he was a member of manager Helenio Herrera's Grande Inter side.  He also participated and won the Euro 1968 with Italy. 

RB: Christian Panucci (Savona)
Christian Panucci's breakout season was the season 1993-1994, when he played 19 games for AC Milan and won the 1994 UEFA Champions' League.  The highlight of his career was perhaps his three seasons with Real Madrid.  He helped them to win the UEFA Champions' League in 1998.  His longest stint was, however, with AS Roma.  At the international level, he had 57 caps with Italy, but his career was very rocky.  He never secured a regular place with the team.
Christian Panucci 

SW: Armando Picchi (Liguria)
He was the captain of La Garnde Inter.  The team was transformed when Helenio Herrera moved him to the libero position during the 1961-1962 season and a legendary team was born.  He was often credited of changing how the position was played. He was capped 12 times by the Azzurri, but he was left out of the 1966 World Cup team and an injury prevented him from playing at the European Championship of 1968, in which Italy won.
CB/LB: Pietro Rava (Piedmont)
Pietro Rava was a member of the Italian national team that won the World Cup in 1938.  He was selected to the All-tournament team.  He also won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1936.  He played for the clubs U.S. Alessandria (1928–35, 1946–47), Juventus F.C. (1935–46 and 1947–50) and Novara Calcio (1950–51). 
CB: Alfredo Foni (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
Alfredo Foni was Pietro Rava's defensive partner for both Juventus and Italy.  Before joining Juventus in 1934, he played for Udinese, Lazio and Padova. They won the Olympic Gold medal in 1936 and the World Cup in 1938.  He is one of only four Italian players ever to win both the Olympic tournament and the World Cup.

CB/LB: Umberto Caligaris (Piedmont)
Umberto Caligaris played 59 times for Italy between 1922 and 1936. Until the 1970's, he was Italy's record cap holder.  He won the World Cup in 1934.  At the club level, he started with Casale F.B.C..  He was also a key player for Juventus that won five scudettoes in a row in the years 1930–35, where he teamed up with goalkeeper Gianpiero Combi.

CB: Virginio Rosetta (Piedmont)
Virginio Rosetta was a star defender before the Second World War. He was on the 1934 World Cup winning team, but only played one match where he was the captain.  That was also his last international match.  At the club level, he won five consecutive scudetti during the 1930s with Juventus. Only three other Juventus players won more titles than him.

LB: Luigi Allemandi (Piedmont) 
Luigi Allemandi was the starting leftback for Italy at the World Cup in 1934, which Italy won the Cup.  For club football, he played for A.C. Legnano, Juventus, Internazionale Milan, A.S. Roma, S.S.C. Venezia and S.S. Lazio, He was caught for throwing a game between Torino and Juventus in 1927.  He was initially banned for life, but received a pardon in 1928.

LB: Sergio Cervato (Veneto)
Cervato started with F.C. Bolzano, but known for his career with Fiorentina. He won the scudetti with Fiorentina in 1955-56 as their captain where they only lost one match.  The club finished as runners-up for the next four consecutive years in 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960. They reached the 1957 European Cup Final the following season.  He joined Juventus and spent two seasons there, winning two more scudetti.  He played 28 times for Italy.  He participated at the 1954 World Cup Finals.

DM: Romeo Benetti (Veneto)
Nicknamed Panzer (tank), El Tigre (the tiger), and Roccia (rock), Romeo Benetti was a tough defensive midfielder. At international level, he represented Italy on 55 occasions between 1971 and 1980, and took part at the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups, as well as UEFA Euro 1980, achieving fourth-place finishes in the latter two tournaments. He is best remembered for his 5 seasons with AC Milan between 1970 and 1976, winning a Cup Winners' Cup. He also won the 1976–77 UEFA Cup with Juventus. He also played for AS Roma.
Romeo Benetti

DM: Giacomo Bulgarelli (Emilia-Romagna)
He was a member of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup team.   In 1962, he became the youngest Italian goal scorer at the WC Finals.  In 1966, he was the captain of the national team. He also won the European Championship in 1968 at home.  He spent his career mainly with Bologna. He was a part of the squad that won the Serie AS title in 1963-1964 season.  He played in the USA for a single season in 1975.

DM: Dino Baggio (Veneto)
Throughout his club career, he won the UEFA Cup three times, twice with Parma and once with Juventus.  Capped 60 times caps for Italy, and was part of the team that reached the final of the 1994 World Cup; he later played at Euro 1996, and at the 1998 World Cup.  While at Juventus, he would play alongside his unrelated namesake Roberto Baggio for two seasons, forming a notable friendship. Dino was often called "Baggio 2" or "the other Baggio" earlier on in his career, to distinguish the two players.

CM: Giovanni Ferrari (Piedmont)
Ferrari was a key player as Italy won back-to-back World Cups in 1934 and 1938. Along with Giuseppe Meazza and Eraldo Monzeglio, he is one of only three Italian players to have won two World Cups.  He was also a part of the great Juventus of the early 1930's.  He won the Serie A a record 8 times, winning 5 titles with Juventus, two with Inter Milan and one with Bologna.

AM: Alessandro Del Piero (Veneto)
Alessandro Del Piero played with them for 19 years (11 years as captain), and holds the club records for most goals (289) and appearances (705).  For the national team, he played 91 times for them, despite the fact that Italy had many players fighting for his position.  He was on the 2006 team that won the World Cup in Germany. He also went to the World Cup Finals of 1998 and 2002, as well as the European Championship of 1996, 2000 and 2004.

AM: Gianni Rivera (Piedmont)
Gianni Rivera was Italy's "Golden Boy"of the 1960's and perhaps their best player in his generation.  He won the Ballon d'Or in 1969.  He led AC Milan to win two European Cups in 1963 and 1969. For Italy, he was capped 63 times, scoring 15 goals, at four World Cup Finals (1962, 1966, 1970, and 1974). Rivera is remembered for scoring the decisive goal in Italy's extra-time win over West Germany in the semi-final of Mexico 1970. He shared his midfield duties with Sandro Mazzola.
Gianni Rivera
AM: Sandro Mazzola (Piedmont)
Sandro Mazzola was a part of Inter Milan's "La Grande Inter".  He won four Serie A titles (1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971), two European Cups (1964 and 1965) and two Intercontinental Cups (1964 and 1965).  He won the Euro 1968 with the Azzurri and led them to the WC Finals in 1970.  During his career, he was known for sharing the starting position with AC Milan's Gianni Rivera on the national team. His father was Valentino Mazzola who died when Sandro was 7 years old.
Sandro Mazzola
AM: Roberto Baggio (Veneto)
Roberto Baggio was the icon of the 1990's.  He was the World Player of the Year, the Ballon d'Or winner and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1993.  He led Italy to reach the semifinal at Italia 1990 and then, to a second place four years later in the World Cup Finals in the USA.  For club football, he started his career with Fiorentina.  He became the most expensive player in the world when he joined Juventus.  He also played for AC Milan, Bologna, Inter Milan and Brescia.
Roberto Baggio

RW/FW: Giampiero Boniperti (Piedmont)
Giampiero Boniperti played his entire career with Juventus and is considered one of their greatest ever player.  He was the highest goalscorer in Juventus' history for more than 40 years, until his record was broken by Alessandro Del Piero. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1950 and 1954.  He was capped 38 times and served as captain 24 times.  

FW: Roberto Bettega (Piedmont)
Nicknamed "White Feather" and "Bobby Gol", Roberto Bettega spent most of his career with his hometown team Juventus. He won 7 Serie A titles there.  He went to 1978 World Cup Finals in Argentina, and was voted into the Team of the tournament.  He missed the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain because of an injury.  Thus, he missed out the chance to become a World Cup winner.

ST: Filippo Inzaghi (Emilia-Romagna)
He is one of the most prolific goalscorers of all time, fifth in Italy, with 313 goals scored in official matches. He is currently the fourth-highest goal scorer in European club competitions with 70 goals.  With AC Milan, he won  two Champions League titles (2003, 2007).  With the national team, he went to all major tournaments from 1998 to 2006.  He won the World Cup in 2006, but only played in one match.

ST: Christian Vieri (Emilia-Romagna)
Christian Vieri was born in Italy, but grew up in Australia.  At the club level, he played for 12 clubs in his career.  He played in Italy, Spain and France. He was the Serie A Footballer of the Year in 1999. He became the most expensive player in the world when Inter Milan signed him from Lazio.  For the national team, he made his debut in 1997 and played in his last game in 2006.  He won the Silver in France 1998.  He missed out on the 2006 World Cup team, where Italy won the World Cup.
Christian Vieri
Honorable mention
Gianluca Pagliuca (Emilia-Romagna),  Claudio Marchisio (Piedmont), Cesare Maldini (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Lorenzo Minotti (Emilia-Romagna), Christian Maggio (Veneto), Giovanni Ferrari (Piedmont),  Luca Toni (Emilia-Romagna), Luigi De Agostini (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) , Gianluigi Lentini (Piedmont), Guglielmo Gabetto (Piedmont), Niocla Berti (Emilia-Romagna), Sebastiano Rossi (Emilia-Romagna), Ivano Bordon (Veneto), Fabio Cudicini (Veneto), Aldo Olivieri (Veneto), Giuliano Sarti (Emilia-Romagna) , Francesco Toldo (Veneto), Felice Gasperi (Emilia-Romagna), Virgilio Maroso (Veneto), Gianluca Pessotto (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Roberto Cravero (Piedmont), Eraldo Monzeglio (Piedmont), Fulvio Collovati (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Aldo Ballarin (Veneto), Roberto Rosato (Piedmont), Eusebio Castigliano (Piedmont), Salvatore Bagni (Emilia-Romagna),  Luigi Bertolini (Liguria), Pietro Serantoni (Veneto),  Carlo Parola (Piedmont), Gianfranco Bedin (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Antonio Janni (Piedmont), Mario Corso (Veneto), Gino Colaussi (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Romeo Menti (Veneto), Renzo Burini (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Adolfo Baloncieri (Piedmont), Enrico Chiesa (Liguria), Roberto Pruzzo (Liguria), Alberto Gilardino (Piedmont), Angelo Schiavio (Emilia-Romagna)

Squad Explanation 
-- How can I select a team consisted of Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola, Roberto Baggio and Alessandro Del Piero? Anyone with a good knowledge of Italian football would say that this team would not work, but i cannot leave out a few of the greatest Italian footballers of all-time.
-- It is not surprising that a number of Juventus players were selected on my team. Turin is the home of the Old Lady after all.  The defense consisted many players from the 1930's.
-- Dino Zoff was the only member of the 1982 World Cup team, which I found it surprising since the backbone of the team played for Juventus, a local club.
-- Alessandro Del Piero and Filippo Inzaghi were the only members of the 2006 World Cup winning team selected.  Luca Toni made honorable mention. 
-- The goalkeepers selected were very old.  Dino Zoff is the only modern goalkeeper.  The other two goalkeepers selected are Giampiero Combi and Lorenzo Buffon.  Lorenzo Buffon played for AC Milan and is considered one of the club's greatest goalkeepers.  He is sometimes confused with Gianluigi Buffon. He edged out Francesco Toldo (Veneto), Gianluca Pagliuca (Emilia-Romagna) and Giuliano Sarti (Emilia-Romagna) for the third goalkeeping spot.
-- The centerbacks are also very old.  Armando Picchi who played in the 1960's is by far the youngest centerback.  The others played in the pre-war eras.  By contrast, Lombardy's four centerbacks are Alessandro Costacurta, Franco Barsei, Riccardo Ferri and Gaetano Scirea.
-- Fullback Luigi Allemandi also played in the 1930's. Rightback Christian Panucci (Savona) is the only younger defender selected.
-- The team consists of a few famous pairs in Italian football's history.  
-- Tarcisio Burgnich and Armando Picchi were two of the most famous defenders on that great defensive unit of La Grande Italy.
-- Umberto Caligaris and Virginio Rosetta were known for their partnership for club and country.  They were replaced (sometimes played with) another pair, Alfredo Foni and Pietro Rava.
-- Gianni Rivera and Sandro Mazzola were two great players who happened to born in the same generation.  They were rivals at the club level, one played for AC Milan and the other for Inter Milan.  For the national team, they did not normally play together.  In the 1970 World Cup Finals, mazzola usually played in the first half and Rivera came on in the second half. Both were born in Piedmont.
-- Roberto Baggio and Alessandro Del Piero were in similar situation.  The emerge of Del Piero in Juventus forced Baggio to leave for AC Milan.  Baggio's career with the Azzurri were limited because of Del Piero thereafter.  They also did not play together.  Despite being the best Italian player of his generation, Baggio only made it to the 1998 World Cup Finals in France because of an injury scare to Alessandro Del Piero. In France, he was Italy's best player, but Del Piero was the first choice over him.  He was not selected for the Euro 1996 and 2000 team.  
-- Both Del Piero and Baggio scored 27 goals each for Italy, but Baggio had 56 caps while Del Piero had 91.  Both were born in Veneto.  
-- Roberto Baggio started his career with L.R. Vicenza, not with Fiorentina.   The club is located in Veneto, where he was born. Dino Baggio was also born there, but he was not related to Roberto.  Both went to 1994 and 1998 World Cup Finals.  They were known as "Baggio" brothers.  It was probably not a nick name, but journalists simply made a mistake as both were also teammates with Juventus. Dino Baggio was selected because I needed more midfielders.
-- Filippo Inzaghi and Christian Vieri were great partners on the field and great friends off the field.  They were liked Batman and Robin.  Del Piero also played with each of them at Juventus and the Azzurri.  However, his feud with Inzaghi at Juventus led to Inzaghi's departure. Inzaghi and Vieri are born in Emilia-Romagna while Del Piero is from Veneto.  
-- Valentino Mazzola was born in Lombardy, where I have a separated all-time team for the region. Sandro Mazzola was born in Turin, Piedmont, when his father was playing with Torino.
-- Cesare Maldini was born in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.  He made  honourable mention.  His son was born in Milan, where I made a separated all-time team for Lombardy.
--  At one point, Gianluigi Lentini (Piedmont) was the most expensive player in the world.  A car accident derailed his career.

Starting Lineup
Formation 4-4-2  (Diamond)
This formation is based on the 4-4-2 used by Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti.  I admitted that this lineup is a experimental formation and I did not expect it to be effective.  Italy does not normally play Sandro Mazzola and Gianni Rivera together, but I could not leave them out. Then, I also start Roberto Baggio.  Baggio, Inzaghi and Vieri played on the 1998 World Cup team.

Formnation 4-4-2(Saachi)
The formation above was unrealistic.  Basically, I put the best players on the field without a plan.  So I created this alternative formation. Arrigo Sacchi's 4-4-2 formation was revolutionary. It was based on a high intensity pressing game and high defensive line with a flat back four and a well-organized offside trap. At the 1994 World Cup Finals, he used Roberto Baggio as the focal point of his attack.  I need a midfielder who could both defend or create.  Sandro Mazzola has better stamina, strength and defensive ability than Rivera.  So I asked him to play in the middle of the field.  He is a better fit there than Rivera or Del Piero. Then, I put Boniperti on the wing.  Del Piero is converted into a left wing.  He has played as a secondary striker.  He can be a left-sided player who has the skill sets and speed to play wide on the wings.

The flat back four should not be an issue.  Sacchi's tactics does not require wingbacks as much as other formations. I already have a good libero in Picchi.



  1. Giuseppe meazza should be on your Lombardy team cause he was born in Milan not in Liguria. Also surprised to not see Francesco toldo as a goalkeeper option, also fulvio collovati on defense or gianluca pessotto as an honourable mention.