Sunday, February 1, 2015

Central Italy Greatest All-Time Team

Gianluigi Buffon and Fabio Grosso at the 2006 World Cup

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

Central Italy is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy used by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), a first level NUTS region and a European Parliament constituency.consists of the administrative regions of Lazio, Tuscany, Marche and Umbria.  The big clubs located in this area included AS Roma, Lazio, Fiorentina, Empoli and Livorno.

Marche, Tuscany and Umbria – together with Emilia-Romagna – are considered to be the most left-leaning regions in Italy, and together are also referred to as the "Red Belt".  Lazio, except for Rome, is more politically conservative, a trait which it shares with Southern Italy.  The fans of S.S Lazio tended to be more right wing.  They considered the left-lending Livorno as one of their rivals.  

Tuscany is known for its landscapes, history, artistic legacy, and its influence on high culture. It is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance[5] and has been home to many figures influential in the history of art and science, and contains well-known museums such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. Umbria is the only Italian region having neither a coastline nor a common border with other countries. 

This is my selection of Central Italy All-Time Team. The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.
Paolo Rossi and Bruno Conti at the World Cup 1982

GK: Gianluigi Buffon (Tuscany)
Gianluigi Buffon is considered to be one of the greatest keeper ever.  He made his Serie A debut at the age of 17 in 1995 with Parma.  He earned his first cap when he was only 19.  He had a total of 175 caps. His biggest achievement must be winning the World Cup in 2006.  He has been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record eight time. He became the most expensive goalkeeper of all time following his transfer from Parma to Juventus in 2001.  He moved to PSG in 2019.
Gianluigi Buffon
GK: Enrico Albertosi (Tuscany)
Enrico Albertosi  was one of the best keepers in his generations.  He played with Fiorentina that won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1961.  Then, he moved to Calgary in 1968, where he won a scudetti with Caligari in 1970.  He later transferred to AC Milan in 1974, where he won yet another Serie A title and Coppa Italia.  For Azzurri, he was a part of Italy's European Championship team in 1968.  He went to the both 1966 and 1970 World Cup Finals.
Enrico Albertosi 

GK: Angelo Peruzzi (Lazio)
Peruzzzi played for Roma, Hellas Verona, Juventus, Internazionale and Lazio. He had a highly successful spell with Juventus, where he won three Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup and the Champions League. His cap total was limited to 31, largely because he was playing in the same generation as Buffon. He missed both France 1998 and Euro 2000 through injuries. He was the backup keeper at World Cup 2006.

RB: Mauro Tassotti (Rome/Lazio)
After making his Serie A debut with Lazio, he went on to play with Milan for 17 years. He won 17 major titles with Milan, including five Serie A championships and three UEFA Champions League tournaments, reaching five finals in total.  He was a part of both Arrigo Sacchi's and Fabio Capello's AC Milan.  He also went to the World Cup Finals in 1994, where Italy came second.

RB: Francesco Rocca (Rome/Lazio)  
Francesco Rocca played his entire career with AS Roma.   He played 18 games for the Italy national football team from 1974 to 1976.  He retired at the age of 26 because of a serious injury. He was nicknamed "Kawasaki"(Japanese motorcycle brand) for his pace and work rate.  He is a member of AS Roma's Hall of Fame.   

CB: Alessandro Nesta (Rome/Lazio) 
Alessandro Nesta is considered one of the best defender of his generation.  He was the Serie A defender of the Year for 4 times. He started his career with Lazio.  Later, he played with AC Milan where he won two Champions' league.  He also played in MLS.  He earned 78 caps.   He played on the 2006 World Cup winning team, but injured on the third game of the tournament.  He also went to 1998 and 2002 World Cup Finals as well as the European Championship in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
Alessandro Nesta

CB: Leonardo Bonucci (Rome/Lazio)    
Leonardo Bonucci started his career with Inter Milan, but became famous with Bari during the 2009-2010 season. In 2010, he joined Juventus. He was a part of Antonio Conte's great defensive unit at Juventus, playing alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. He was capped 75 times. He went to both World Cup in 2010 and 2014. He was a member of Italy's Euro 2020 winning team.

CB: Andrea Barzagli (Tuscany) 
Barzagli first made his name with Palermo.  Later, he moved to Wolvesburg. He was a later bloomer. In 2011, he joined Antonio Conte's Juventus.  He finally established himself as one of the best in the world.   He played 73 times for Italy between 2004 and 2017.  He was a member of the 2016 World Cup winning team.  He also went to the 2014 World Cup and three European Championships (2008, 2012, and 2016), 

CB/LB: Giorgio Chiellini (Tuscany)
Giorgio Chiellini played with Livorno, Roma and Fiorentina before moving to Juventus in 2005. With Juventus, he has won eight consecutive Serie A titles from 2012 to 2019. For the national team, ge earned over 90 caps. He was selected for the 2004 Olympics, winning a bronze medal, as well as for three European Championships, two World Cups and two Confederations Cups, helping them to reach the final of Euro 2012.

LB: Amedeo Carboni (Tuscany)
Amedeo Carboni played for a number of Italian clubs before joining Roma in 1990. He stayed there for 7 seasons mainly as a starter before he went to Valencia in 1997.  With Valencia, his team made it to the Champions' League Finals twice and won the UEFA Cup/League Double in 2003/2004. He represented Italy at the European Championship in 1996, where he earned two of his 18 caps for Italy.

LB: Fabio Grosso (Rome/Lazio)   
From 2003 to 2009, Fabio Grosso played 48 times for Italy.  He was the hero of Italy's 2006 World Cup winning team.  He earned the penalty that beat Australia at the round of 16, scored the winning goal in the semifinal, and then, the final penalty kick in the Final.  At the club level, he started his career in the lower divisions in Italy before making a name with Perugia.  He helped Palermo to gain promotion in 2004.  He later played for Inter Milan, Lyon and Juventus.
Fabio Grosso
DM: Marco Tardelli (Tuscany)
Marco Tardelli played at the 1978 World Cup Finals in Argentina and the 1980 European Football Championship at home.  He was the unsung hero of Italy's 1982 World Cup winning team.  He was capped 81 times.  He also won all the three major European competitions with Juventus. He also played for Pisa, Como, Inter Milan and St.Gallen of Switzerland.

DM: Daniele De Rossi (Rome/Lazio)  
At the time of writing, Daniele De Rossi has played his entire career with Roma.  He inherited the captaincy of Roma in 2017 following the retirement of Francesco Totti.  Since 2004, he went to every major international tournaments.  He had 117 caps before his retirement from the national team in 2017. He was a member of the 2006 World Cup winning team.  He was Italian Footballer of the Year in 2009. 

DM: Attilio Ferraris (Tuscany) 
Attilio Ferraris played 10 seasons (254 games, 2 goals) in the Serie A, for A.S. Roma, S.S. Lazio and A.S. Bari.  Ferraris had 28 caps for Italy.  He won the bronze medal at the 1928 Olympics, and was part of the World Cup winning team of 1934, being named to the tournament's All-Star Team for his performances.

RW: Bruno Conti (Rome/Lazio)
Bruno Conti was the greatest winger in Italy's history.  He won the World Cup in 1982 and also took part at the 1986 World Cup Finals. Except with two loan spells with Genoa, he played his entire career with AS Roma. The season after the World Cup Finals in 1982, he helped Roma to win the league title.  He also led them to the 1984 European Cup Final but were defeated on penalties by Liverpool.

AM/LM: Francesco Totti (Rome/Lazio)
Francesco Totti was the long serving captain of AS Roma and perhaps the greatest ever player for the club.  He brought the scudetti back to AS Roma in 2001 after a 20 year drought.  He was named the Italian Footballer of the Year for 2000 and 2001. He won the European Golden Boot award in 2006-2007.  He won the 2006 World Cup winner and reached the Euro 2000 final with Italy, Totti was selected in the All-Star team for both tournaments. He also represented his country at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004.  
Francesco Totti
AM: Giuseppe Giannini (Rome/Lazio)
Nicknamed "Il Principe" (The Prince),  he was a symbol of Roma before the emerge of FrancescoTotti.  He played for AS Roma between 1982 and 1996. After AS Roma, he played in Austria for Sturm Graz, and for Napoli and Lecce in Italy. Giannini was capped 47 times for Italy between 1986 and 1991, scoring 6 goals. He represented Italy at both Euro 1988 and the 1990 World Cup.

FW: Roberto Mancini (Marche)
Roberto Mancini started his career with Bologna, but probably best remembered for his years with Sampdoria.  He formed a great partnership with Gianluca Vialli there, winning the Cup Winners' Cup in 1990 and the scudetti in 1991. He only played 36 times for Italy because of fierce competition from other offensive midfielders.

AM: Giancarlo Antognoni (Umbria)
Giancarlo Antognoni  was Fiorentina's greatest ever player .  He was a key player for Italy's World Cup winning team in 1982, but he missed the Final because of an injury.  He was capped 73 times for the Azzurri. In 1972, he joined Fiorentina. Because of his loyalty with his club, he never won anything at the club level.  He holds the record for the most appearances in Serie A for Fiorentina, with 341 appearances.

FW: Paolo Rossi (Tuscany)
Paolo Rossi was the hero of Italy's World Cup winning team in 1982, notably for scoring a hattrick against Brazil in Spain, and went on to win the Golden boot. He was also the European player of the Year in 1982 because of his performance at the World Cup Finals. At the club level, he was a part of the great Juventus team of the 1980's, winning the 1985 European Cup as Juventus' second top scorer.  He also went to the 1978 World Cup Finals. He played 48 times for Italy.

Paolo Rossi
FW: Alessandro Altobelli (Rome/Lazio)
Alessandro Altobelli played for Latina and Brescia before joining Inter Milan in 1977, where he became a star at the club.  He also spent a season with Juventus in the 1988-1989 season.  For the national team, he had 61 caps. He was best-remembered for scoring a goal against West Germany at the World Cup Final in 1982. He also played in the 1986 World Cup Finals.

ST: Francesco Graziani (Rome/Lazio)
Francesco Graziani earned 64 caps.  He played every game in 1982 as Italy won their first World Cup since 1938. He started his club career with Arezzo. He was an all-time great at Torino, winning the league in 1976.  He was the top scorer in Serie for 1976-1977 season.  He also played for Fiorentina, Roma and Udinese.

ST: Giorgio Chinaglia (Tuscany)
Born in Italy, Giorgio Chinaglia grew up in Wales, where he started his career with Swansea. Lazio voted him as their greatest ever player.  In 1973-1974, he led the league in scoring as Lazio won the scudetto. Later, he played for NY Cosmos with Pele and Franz Beckenbauer. He was one of the few players who played in NASL during their prime. He played 14 times for Azzurii between 1972 and 1975. He went to the 1974 World Cup Finals in West Germany.

Honorable mention
Bruno Giordano (Rome/Lazio), Luigi Di  Biagio (Rome/Lazio), Ardico Magnini (Tuscany), Angelo Di Livio(Rome/Lazio), Alberigo Evani, Fabrizio Ravanelli (Umbria), Paulo Di Canio (Rome/Lazio), Lionello Manfredonia (Rome/Lazio), Agostino Di Bartolomei (Rome), Giovanni Galli (Tuscany), Stefano Tacconi (Umbria), Ardico Magnini (Tuscany).

Squad Explanation
-- This team is not the best teams out of all of my all-time teams from Italy, but it included many players who contributed enormously for Italy winning the World Cup. Both Paulo Rossi and Fabio Grosso were World cup heros.  
-- Paulo Rossi's achievements in the 1982 World Cup Finals are well-known.  Without him, the world of football would be very different.  He not only won the World Cup for Italy.  He also changed the way how Brazil played football.  
-- All three goal scorers at the 1982 World Cup Final against West Germany are on this team. Paulo Rossi, Marco Tardelli, Alessandro Altobelli scored in the 3-1 victory. Along with Bruno Conto and  Giancarlo Antognoni, the Central Italians were well-represented on the offensive line of the 1982 team. 
-- Fabio Grosso sealed the penalty against Australia in the round of 16.  He scored a goal against germany in the semi final, and the last and World Cup winning penalty of the shootout against France in the World Cup Finals.  Of course, the 2006 World Cup team also included Francesco Totti, Angelo Peruzzi, Daniel De Rossi, Alessandro Nesta  and Gianluigi Buffon.   Nesta was injured during the tournament, but Buffon was probably one of the main reasons why Italy won the World Cup.  Daniel De Rossi's role was limited due to a red card he received in the first round and being suspended.  Totti, however, was one of the key players.
-- Most players selected played for AS Roma, Fiorentina and Lazio at one point of their career.  
-- Gianluigi Buffon, Enrico Albertosi and Angelo Peruzzi were obvious choices.  Buffon is probably the greatest goalkeeper of all-time. The other goalkeepers would be Giovanni Galli (Tuscany), Stefano Tacconi (Umbria)
-- Francesco Totti was born in the region. He also played his entire career for AS Roma.  Daniele De Rossi, Bruno Conti, Francisco Totti and Giuseppe Giannini are born in the Lazio/Roma area, where they became icons of AS Roma.  Giuseppe Giannini enjoyed a Totti-like status with AS Rioma before the emerge of Totti.  Then, De Rossi inherited that status from Totti.  Francesco Rocca who was a one club man with AS Roma was also born in the area.  
-- Giancarlo Antognoni was also born in the region, but not in Tuscany where Fiorentina was located.  He was born in Umbria, but still a part of Central Italy.  
-- Both Totti and Antognoni won the the World Cup for Italy, but their club career was limited due to their loyalty toward their clubs.  Both players were considered their club's greatest players.  Antognoni was actually not a one club player.  However, no one doubted his loyalty to Fiorentina.  The Coppa Italia in 1974 was his only trophy he won in club football.
-- Both Bruno Conti and Daniele De Rossi also played their entire career with AS Roma. They also won the World Cup for Italy.  Upated: De Rossi played a few games for Boca Juniors at the end of his career.
-- Luciano Re Cecconi was born in Milan, but known for his career in Lazio.  He is ineligible for this team.
-- Italy and Juventus was known for its solid defensive unit with Gianluigi Buffon and the three centerbacks of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Ciorgio Chiellini.  They were all from Central Italy.  Leonardo Bonucci was born in Lazio while the other three are born in Tuscany.
-- Giorgio Chinaglia (Tuscany) received a lot name recogination because he played with NY Cosmos and Lazio during their glorious days.  Lazio also voted him as their greatest player.  And since this an all-time team for the region, I gave him a lot of credits for his career with Lazio.
-- Paulo Di Canio (Rome/Lazio) never got his chance with Italy.  I also dropped him because there are too many forwards/attack midfielders on this team.  I only put him on honorable mention.

Starting lineup
Formation: 4-4-2 (Diamond)
This formation is based on the 4-4-2 used by Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti with AC Milan.  The offensive lineup was almost identical to the 1982 World Cup winning team with Paolo Rossi, Alessandro Altobelli, Mauro Tassotti, Bruno Conti and Giancarlo Antognoni.  I started Altobelli over Graziani because he emerged as a star of the Azzurri in the mid-1980's. I converted Bruno Conti into a runner, where many wingers successfully made the transition. Antognoni served as my registra while I also put Francisco Totti behind the two strikers. Fabio Grosso was rewarded a starting position for his World Cup contributions.  In real life, Gianluigi Buffon played with three of four starting defenders.

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