Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Southern Italy Greatest All-Time Team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   This entry of his was written in October 21, 2020, but mine was uploaded in a few weeks before his 2020.   Another entry of his was written in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

Two Southerners vs Germany at the 2006 World Cup Finals

Please also look at my all-time Italy and my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Italian diaspora
Central Italy.
Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy)Lombardy
Italy after 1982Italy between 1938 and 1982.
Italian Players' surnames ending with an "i"

Southern Italy covers the historical and cultural region that was once politically under the administration of the former Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily (officially denominated Regnum Siciliae citra Pharum and ultra Pharum, that is "Kingdom of Sicily on the other side of the Strait" and "across the Strait"), and which later shared a common organization into Italy's largest pre-unitarian state, the Bourbon-led Kingdom of the two Sicilies. The island of Sardinia, which had once been under the rule of the Alpine House of Savoy, had a different history from the aforementioned region, but is nonetheless often subsumed into the Mezzogiorno.

Southern Italy (Mezzogiorno) consists of the administrative regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise, Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia. The big clubs in the area are Napoli, Cagliari, Palermo, Bari, Messina, Lecce and Catania.  Italian football is dominated by the Northern clubs, but Diego Maradona led Napoli to break monopoly in the 1980's.  

All players are selected based upon place of birth.  I cannot go into the ancestry of every Italian player in history to determine if they are Southerners.  I tried to add all great Southern Italian footballers not born there to honourable mention.
Iaquinta and Di Natale

GK: Morgan Da Sanctis (Abruzzo)
Morgan Da Sanctis is brilliant keeper, but his international opportunities limited by playing at the same time as Gianluigi Buffon. He only had 6 caps.  He was, however, included in squads for Euro 2008, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012.  From 1999 to 2007, he played for Udinese.  Then, he had another long career with Napoli.  

GK: Salvatore Sirigu (Nuoro, Sardinia)
Salvatore Sirigu began his career with Venezia, and then Palermo. In 2011, he moved to Paris Saint-Germain. Twice voted the Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year, his honours at the club include four consecutive league titles, and all four domestic competitions in both the 2014–15 and 2015–16 seasons. After spending the 2016–17 season on loan to Sevilla and Osasuna, he was signed by Torino in 2017.
GK: Franco Tancredi (Abruzzo)
Tancredi began his career with Giulianova, and later also played with Milan and Rimini, before joining Roma. He made 288 Serie A appearances for Roma between 1979 and 1990, winning the Scudetto in 1983 and four Coppa Italia titles. In 1987, during a game against Milan at the San Siro, he was hit on the head by a firework thrown by a Milan supporter. He stopped breathing for a short time but was eventually resuscitated by paramedics. 

RB: Massimo Oddo (Abruzzo)
Massimo Oddo was a product of AC milan academy, but he made his name with Lazio, where he played from 2002 to 2007.  He eventually returned to Milan in 2007, where he won the Champions' League in 2007. He also played for Napoli, Bayern Munich and Verona. He had 34 caps. He was a member of Italy's championship winning squad during the 2006 FIFA World Cup under Marcello Lippi,

CB: Fabio Cannavaro (Campania)
Fabio Cannavaro was capped 138 times for Italy between 1997 and 2010. He was the captain and perhaps, the best Italian player of the 2006 World Cup winning team.  He was named the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year, and won the Ballon d'Or award in 2006 which made him the third defender to win the award. At the club level, he started his career with Napoli and had spells with Parma, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid as well as a spell in the Middle East.
Fabio Cannavaro
LB/CB: Felice Gasperi (Abruzzo)
Felice Gasperi was only capped 6 times because Italy started a lineup consisted of Juventus players at his time.  He played for Italy during the 1920's, winning a Bronze medal at the 1928 Olympics.  However, his name was not listed among medalists.  He was born in Abruzzo, but he joined Bologna in 1924, where he played his entire career club career.

SW: Ciro Ferrara (Campania)
Ciro Ferrara was considered one of the best defenders in the world during his prime.  However, his international career was limited by the same period with Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Pietro Vierchowod, Riccardo Ferri, Giuseppe Bergomi, Fabio Cannavaro, and Alessandro Nesta.  For club football, he played nearly a decade for Napoli during Diego Maradona's years before moving to Juvnetus.  At Juventus, he won 6 scudettis and a single Champions' League.

CB: Marco Materazzi (Apulia)
Marco Materazzi was highly controversial defender in his prime.  He was remembered for scoring the equaliser against France at the Final of the 2006 World Cup Finals, and then, the headbutt incident in which  Zidane was sent off.  From 2001 to 2006, he payed 41 times for Italy.  His best club football was played with Inter Milan.  He won 6 straight scudettis with them and a single Champions' League in 2010. He also played for Perugia and Everton.
Marco Materazzi 
LB: Giuseppe Pancaro (Calabria)
Pandora made his name with Cagliari.  After Cagliari were relegated in 1997, he transferred to S.S. Lazio.  He was better known for his six seasons with Lazio. He was a part of Lazio's Serie A winning team in 2000. He also played for Milan, Torino and Fiorentina.  He earned 19 caps for Italy, but never played in a major tournament.

LB: Francesco Coco (Sicily)
Francesco Coco was a part of the Azzurri at the 2002 World Cup Finals co-hosted by Japan and Korea. Coco spent the majority of his club career with the Milan clubs; first with A.C. Milan between 1993 and 2002 and later with F.C. Internazionale between 2002 and 2007. He also had several loan spells with Vicenza Calcio, Torino F.C. and FC Barcelona. He won two Scudetti with Milan.  He had 17 caps for Italy.

DM: Gennaro Gattuso (Calabria) 
Gennaro Gattuso was a highly regarded destroyer in his prime. He spent 13 years with AC Milan, forming a famous partnership with Andreas Pirlo. His strength and brutal style complemented well with Pirlo's creativity. He also played for Rangers, Perugia and Sion. He won two Champions' League with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007.  For the Azzurri, he earned 73 caps.  He went to three World Cup Finals, winning the 2006 World Cup Finals, playing along side Pirlo again.
Gennaro Gattuso
CM: Fernando De Napoli (Campania)
Fernando De Napoli was a part of the successful Napoli side that also featured Diego Maradona.  He won the scudetto in 1987 and 1990, the Coppa Italia in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1989, and the Supercoppa Italiana in 1990. He also won two scudettos with AC Milan, where he played between 1992 and 1994.  He also played for Reggiana. For his country, De Napoli took part in the 1986 World Cup, the Euro 88 and the 1990 World Cup.

CM: Antonio Juliano (Campania)
Juliano played the majority of his club career with Napoli (1962–78), winning the Coppa delle Alpi in 1966, and the Coppa Italia and the Anglo-Italian League Cup in 1976. He finished his playing career after a season with Bologna, retiring in 1979, after helping the club to avoid relegation.  He went to three World Cup Finals: 1966, 1970 and 1974, but only played one match.

CM/DM: Antonio Conte (Apulia)
From 1985 to 1991, Antonio Conte played for Lecce.  From 1991 to 2004, he played for Juventus.  He is one of Juventus' most decorated players.  He captained the team and won the 1996 Champions League, as well as five Serie A titles, among other honours.  From 1994 to 2000, he was capped 20 times for Italy.  he scored a bicycle against Turkey at the Euro 2000.  He also participated at the World Cup in 1994.

RW/LW:  Franco Causio (Apulia)
Franco Causio capped 63 times for Italy.  He was a part of the Azzurri at Euro 1980 and then, the World Cup in 1982, where Italy won.  For his club career, he played 11 years for Juventus between 1970 and 1981.   During a highly successful period with the club, he won the scudetto six times, as well as winning a Coppa Italia, and an UEFA Cup. He also reached the European Cup final with Juventus during the 1972–73 season.
Franco Causio 
AM: Stefano Fiore (Calabria) 
Stefano Fiore started out with Cosenza in 1992, but known for his career with Parma in the 1990's, where he won two the UEFA Cups.   He later played with Lazio, Udinese, Padova, Chievo, Valencia, Fiorentina, Torino, Livorno, etc. He was capped 38 times for Italy between 2000 and 2004 in period when Italy had many great attacking midfielders.  He played at  the European Championship in 2000 and 2004.

AM: Gianfranco Zola (Sardinia)
Gianfranco Zola played with Diegoi Maradona at Napoli as a young player. He played for Parma between 1993 and 1996, winning the 1995 UEFA Cup with Tomas Brolin, Fernando Couto, Faustino Asprilla and Stefano Fiore. He moved to Chelsea in 1996 and won the FWA Footballer of the Year.  His transfer to Chelsea started a wave of foreign players heading over to England. For the national team, he only played 35 times for Italy due to overcrowding of attack midfielders during his prime. 
Gianfranco Zola

FW: Antonio Di Natale (Campania)
Antonio Di Natale played 5 seasons with Empoli before signing with Udinese, where his career took off.  He was the Seria A top scorer for two seasons: 2010 and 2011. At the international level, he only played 42 times for Italy.  He was a key player at the World Cup Finals in 2010. He also went to the European Championship in both 2008 and 2012.  He is one of Udinese's greatest player.

FW: Antonio Cassano (Puglia)
Antonio Cassano was controversial figure known to have clashes with managers, teammates, etc.  He made a big move to Roma as a 19 years old as one of Italy's brightest young players.  Initially, he found successes with the club, but clashes with manager Fabio Capello led to his falling out with the club.  He would play for Real Madrid, Sampdoria, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Parma with mixed results.  He gained his first caps in 2003, but he was in and out of the players' pool.
Antonio Cassano 
ST: Riccardo Carapellese (Apulia)
Carapellese started his career in the 1942–43 season with Spezia Calcio 1906 in Serie B.  After a stint with Como, he played with Milan, in which he remained until 1949.  After the Grande Torino Superga tragedy, he joined Torino, inheriting the captain's armband from Valentino Mazzola. In 1952, he moved to Juventus and then, played for Genoa.  He participated at the 1950 FIFA World Cup as Italy's captain. 

ST: Toto Schillaci (Sicily)
Salvatore Schillaci started with Messina at home before moving to Juventus in 1989.  He was a relatively, unknown player at the beginning of the 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy. He started off as a substitute in the first two matches, where he scored decisive goals coming off the bench.  He became a starter by the third match.  He went on to form a great partnership with Roberto Baggio.  He scored 5 goals and finished as the top scorer and won the Gold Ball.
Toto Schillaci
ST: Vincenzo Iaquinta (Calabria) 
At the club lebel, Vincenzo Iaquinta made a name as the offensive partner of Antonio Di Natale while they played for Udinese.  He also played for Juventus between 2007 and 2013.  He played 40 matches for the Italy national football team between 2005 and 2010, scoring 6 goals. He was a part of Italy's World Cup winning team in 2006. He played in 5 out of 7 of Italy's matches in Germany.
ST: Vincenzo Montella (Campania) 
Vincenzo Montella played for Empoli, Genoa, Sampdoria and Roma in Italy, and also had a spell on loan in England with Fulham. His best years were spent with Roma, where he won the Serie A title and the Supercoppa Italiana during the 2000–01 season. He was voted into the Hall of Flame of AS Roma in 2013. For Italy, he went to the European Championship in 2000 and the World Cup Finals in 2002, but saw limited action. 
Vincenzo Montella 

Honorable Mention 
Ciro Immobile (Campania), Fabio Quagliarella (Campania), Giuseppe Galderisi (Campania), Leonardo Costagliola (Puglia), Roberto Galia (Sicily), Giuseppe Furino (Sicily), Claudio Gentile (Sicilian born in Libya), Simone Perrotta (born in England of parents from Calabria), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Campania),  Mario Balotelli (Sicily), Fabio Quagliarella (Campania), Domenico Criscito (Campania), Attilio Lombardo (Campania), Antonello Cuccureddu (Sardinia), Antonio Benarrivo (Apulia), 

Squad Explanation
-- Toto Schillaci (Sicily), Fabio Cannavaro (Campania), Gennaro Gattuso (Calabria) and Fernando De Napoli (Campania) were probably the greatest Italian players from the South.
-- Franco Causio won a World Cup in 1982.  Claudie Gentile is a Sicilian, but he was born in Libya.  
-- Fabio Cannavaro had one of the greatest performance of a defender in a World Cup Finals.  He was Italy's best player in 2006 as Italy won the World Cup.
-- The whole of Italy might be disappointed with the result of the 1990 World Cup Finals as expectation was high.  Italy was eliminated in the semi-final by Argentina in Naples.   Diego Maradona tried to split the loyalty of the Southern Italians in that match.  “The Neapolitans are being asked to be Italians for one night, while the other 364 days of the year they get called terroni (an Italian slur roughly translated as peasants),” he told reporters.  Nevertheless, Italy would have been worst without the performance of Toto Schillaci of Sicily.  He was the hero of that World Cup Finals.  Fernando De Napoli and Ciro Ferrara also came from the South.  Andrea Carnevale played for Napoli, but he was born in Lazio.
-- Five members of the 2006 World Cup winning squad made this all-time team.  They are Fabio Cannavaro, Massimo Oddo, Marco Materazzi, Vincenzo Iaquinta and Gennaro Gattuso.  Simone Perrotta's parents are from Calabria too.  
-- Gianluigi Donnarumma was born in Campania.  At the time of writing, he is too young. He needed to earn a spot.
-- Mario Balotelli was born in Palermo, Sicily, but he grew up in North with his foster parents. Since I have been using birthplace as the main criteria, he is eligible for this team. I do believe that Mario Balotelli is overrated, but he got better name recognition than Ciro Immobile (Campania) and Giuseppe Galderisi (Campania) at the time when I wrote the blog.  Since then, his reputation have fallen down. 
-- I did a review of the team in January, 2021.  Ciro Immobile probably deserved to be on the team over Mario Balotelli.  In 2019–20 season, he equalled the record for most Serie A goals in a season with 36 goals.  Mario Balotelli had a higher profile club career than Immobile because he was always on the limelight.  Then, I discovered Riccardo Carapellese.  So I have to take off Mario Balotelli and Immobile remained on my honorable mention.  I also removed Fabio Quagliarella (Campania) and replaced him with Antonio Conte.  I need a midfielder more than an attacker.  Besides, Cinte definitely had a better club career than Quagliarella.
I also discovered Attilio Lombardo (Campania) whom I might need an extra winger.  I simply have too many forwards. At the time of writing, I am reviewing my team.
-- Three of the bad boys of Italian football are on this team: Marco Materazzi, Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli (who was on the original team).  Cassano did not live up to his talents. Balotelli is following his footsteps.
-- A few players were unlucky to live in a period where there are fierce competition for their positions.  Morgan Da Sanctis, Gianfranco Zola, Stefano Fiore and Ciro Ferrara would have a different international career if they were born in a different era. 
-- Because of Gianluigi Buffon, De Sanctis seldom got to play for Italy.  He was a year older than Buffon.
-- Marco Materazzi contributed to Italy's 2006 World Cup winning team, but his total caps was limited by playing with the same time as some of the greatest centerbacks.  He partnered Fabio Cannavaro who also came from Campania at the 2006 World Cup Finals after Alessandro Nesta was injured.  He also scored the equaliser against France in the Final as well as involving in Zinedine Zidane's infamous red card.
-- Ciro Ferrara had a much more fierce competition than Materazzi on the Italian national team.  He played with Franco Baresi, Ricardo Ferri, Giuseppe Bergomi, Pietro Vierchowod and Alessandro Costacurta.
-- Gianfranco Zola was playing around the same time as Robert Mancini, Roberto Baggio and Alessandro Del Piero.  He was known for his career with Napoli and Parma, but probably earned a much better reputation playing in England. He also played for Sardinia, a non-FIFA national team.
-- Luca Riva was associated with Cagliari, but he was born in Lombardy.
-- Fernando De Napoli's name indicated that he is from the region. He was born in Campania. He and Ciro Ferrara are the only members from Diego Maradona's Napoli who got selected to my all-time team.  Napoli put Southern Italian club on the map.  Zola was an understudy to Diego Maradona at the club.   Fabio Cannavaro played for the youth team at the time of Maradona.
-- Vincenzo Iaquinta made a name as the offensive partner of Antonio Di Natale with Udinese, a club located in Friuli Venezia Giulia in the Northeast Italy.
-- Riccardo Carapellese was the captain of the national team in the 1950 World Cup Finals.
-- Simone Perrotta was born in England to parents from Cosenza, Calabria. Claudio Gentile is Sicilian, but he was born in Libya.  By my birth rule, they are not eligible for this team. I added both to the honorable mention.  

Starting lineup
Formation: 4-2-1-3


  1. Riccardo carapellese was a good striker and Antonio conte was worthy of an honourable mention.

  2. Tancredi e sirigu sono entrambi meglio di de sanctis.