Friday, September 9, 2016

Genoa Greatest All-Time Team

1924-1925 Serie A winner
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Established on 7 September 1893, it is Italy's oldest football team currently active and the fourth overall. During their long history, Genoa have won the Serie A nine times. Genoa's first title came at the inaugural championship in 1898 and their last was in 1923–24. They also won the Coppa Italia once. Historically, Genoa is the fourth most successful Italian club in terms of championships won.

GK: Giovanni De Prà (Italy)
He spent his entire club career with his hometown side Genoa C.F.C., playing more than 300 games over almost 15 years. He competed at the 1924 and 1928 Summer Olympics, and won a bronze medal in 1928.

GK: James Richardson Spensley (England)
Richardson Spensley arrived in Genoa in 1896. He joined Genoa Cricket & Athletics Club. He opened the footballing section for the club on 10 April 1897 and was put in place as its first ever manager.    Spensley participated as a player-manager for Genoa in the first ever Italian Football Championship (which he initiated) during 1898 which his club won. The following season he switched position from defender to goalkeeper, playing on until 1906. Including the first title, Genoa won the Italian league six times while Richardson Spensley was at the helm. After retiring from playing when he was almost 40 years old, he stayed on in the management role for one more year, before leaving entirely.
Spensley the founder of Genoa's football team
GK: Giovanni Cervone (Italy)
Born in Naples, he joined the youth team of Juve Stabia.  Later, he , played with the Avellino, Genoa, Parma and Verona.  In 1989, he was bought by Rome, where he played between 1989 and 1997.

RB/LB: Fosco Becattini (Italy)
He played for 12 seasons in the Serie A with Genoa C.F.C. (338 games, 1 goal). He made his debut for the Italy national football team on 27 March 1949 in a game against Spain.  He has the second-most appearances for Genoa with 425 matches.

RB: Ottavio Barbieri
As a player he was a one club man and spent his entire career at hometown side Genoa. On the international level, Barbieri most notably represented Italy at the 1924 Summer Olympics.

CB: Gianluca Signorini (Italy)
Signorini played successively for Pisa, Pietrasanta, Prato, Livorno, Ternana and Cavese before joining A.C. Parma, with Arrigo Sacchi as coach. He quickly became a key player for Parma, helping the club to Serie B promotion in 1986, winning the Serie C1 title. He later played for A.S. Roma, and then to Genoa in 1988. Genoa managed to reach the semi-finals of the 1991–92 UEFA Cup, and also to a fourth-place finish during the 1990–91 Serie A season, the club's best league finish since the end of the Second World War
 Gianluca Signorini
CB: Vincenzo Torrente (Italy)
After starting his career at minor league club Nocerina, Torrente joined Genoa at the age of 19. He quickly became a mainstay for the club, spending 15 consecutive seasons with the Rossoblu at both Serie A and Serie B level, playing also at European level during the Osvaldo Bagnoli period in the early 1990s. He left Genoa in 2000, after having collected more than 400 games with the club, in order to join Alessandria.

CB/LB: Renzo De Vecchi (Italy)
He made his Milan debut as a 15 years old.  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 three 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.  He also represented Italy at the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympic Games.  In total, he made 43 appearances for Italy between 1910 and 1925. 
Renzo De Vecchi 

LB/CB: Domenico Criscito (Italy)
He moved to Juventus's academy from Genoa in 2004, but he returned to Genoa for his professional debut.  He rejoined Juventus in 2007, but returned to Genoa again in 2008.  Capped 22 times, he was Italy's starting left back at South Africa 2010.  Since 2010, he has been playing for  FC Zenit Saint Petersburg in the Russian league.

LB: Branco (Brazil)
Branco appeared 72 times for Brazil, between April 1985 and February 1995.  He went to both Italia 1990 and USA 1994.  In 1994, he scored a powerful against Holland that sent Brazil to the semifinal.  On the club level, Branco played for Internacional , Fluminense, Brescia , FC Porto , Genoa, Grêmio, Flamengo, Corinthians, Middlesbrough, and MetroStars. 
DM: Ettore Leale (Italy)
Leale started his career with Genoa and was an undisputed starter by the age of 18.  He won the league in the 1914-1915 season.  He became fighter pilot during the First World War.  He later won two more titles after the War. He had two caps for Italy.

CM: Gennaro Ruotolo (Italy)
Ruotolo started his career with Sorrento in 1984, but is best known for having been a key player for Genoa for over a decade; he joined the Grifone in 1988 to left it only in 2002 to join Livorno of Serie C1. During his spell at Genoa he lifted the 1996 Anglo-Italian Cup. Capped once for Italy.

CM/ST: Mario Perazzolo (Italy)
During his career Perazzolo played for Padova and Fiorentina before moving to Genoa, where he spent most of his career; he later also played for Brescia and Siracusa. For the national team, he also played in Meazza's position in an outing just after the team had won the 1936 Olympic title, subsequently switching to a midfield position as the World Cup approached. He was a starter in their final warm up before leaving for Paris, however Pozzo decided to go with Serantoni instead. He would win another six caps with the national team. At nearly forty years of age he played his last season at Siracusa in Serie B having won the FIFA World Cup and the Coppa Italia with Genoa.

CM: Marco Rossi (Italy)
Rossi started playing football with Lucchese in Serie B, moving for the 1998–99 campaign to Salernitana, newly promoted to Serie A. After two seasons he joined A.C. Fiorentina.  In 2002 Rossi left Fiorentina due to unpaid wages.  In 2002, he joined Genoa, where he played until 2014. He was an important player for Genoa during that period.  
Marco Rossi
RW: Stefano Eranio (Italy)
Eranio started his professional football career with Genoa in 1984.  In total, Eranio played for the club for eight seasons before he moved to AC Milan in 1992. At Milan he won three league titles (1993, 1994 and 1996), three Italian Super Cups (1992, 1993 and 1994) and he also played in two Champions League finals. In May 1997 he moved for free to the English club Derby County.  Capped 20 times.

LW: John van 't Schip (Holland)
Born in Canada, Van 't Schip began his career in the Jong Ajax youth academy. Debuting for the first team in December 1981, he would spend the next 11 seasons with the club. During this period he became league champion in 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1990, and cup champion in 1983, 1986 and 1987. He also helped Ajax win the 1987 European Cup Winners' Cup and the 1992 UEFA Cup. After Ajax's UEFA Cup victory, he was bought by Italian team Genoa, where he played four seasons before finishing his career. He helped the club to lift the 1996 Anglo-Italian Cup.

AM/FW: Juan Carlos Verdeal (Argentina)
He joined Estudiantes in 1938 and went to Brazil in 1941.  In Brazil , Verdeal played with Fluminense , the Canto do Rio and Juventus SP.  In 1946, he went to Genoa and formed a partnership with striker Dalla Torre . He became one of the fan favourite.  He later played in France.

FW: Julio Abbadie (Uruguay)
During his career, he played for Peñarol, where he won the 1966 Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup.  also played in Italy (from 1956 to 1962) with Genoa and Lecco. In total he played Serie A 140 matches and scored 31 goals. He participated in the 1954 FIFA World Cup and scored two goals in a group match against Scotland.
Julio Abbadie
FW: Carlos Aguilera (Uruguay)
He began his career playing for River Plate Montevideo, from 1980 to 1982.  He played with Club Nacional de Football, Independiente Medellín, Racing Club of Argentina, Tecos of Mexico , Genoa C.F.C. and then A.C. Torino.  Capped 64 times.  He was the 1983 Copa America joint top scorer.

ST: Diego Milito (Argentina)
Milito began his club career with Racing Club in 1999.  He starred at both Genoa and Real Zaragoza. He is best remembered for playing with Inter Milan. He scored 32 goalsin all competitions including two goals in the 2010 Champions League Final the club's 2009–10 treble-winning season scoring . Earned 25 caps for Argentina. He represented his country in two Copa América, and at the 2010 World Cup.
Diego Milito
ST: Virgilio Levratto  (Italy)
He played for F.C. Vado (won in 1922 first Coppa Italia edition, scoring decisive goal in final) and played also for Hellas Verona F.C., Genoa C.F.C. (148 matches and 84 goal scored), Inter Milan in 1932, S.S. Lazio in 1934, Savona in Serie C and closed his career in Serie D with Cavese. With the national football team he got 28 caps (11 goals), played in the 1924 Summer Olympics and won bronze medal at the 1928 Summer Olympics.

ST: Tomáš Skuhravý (Czechoslovakia)
At club level, he mostly played in the Italian Serie A in the early 1990s with Genoa, being signed from Sparta Prague. In the 1990–91 season, Genoa reached a fourth place in the final standings, argu, his team reached the Semi-finals in the UEFA Cup. He left Genoa in 1995 to join Sporting Clube de Portugal. He played for Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic. He was a participant in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, where he scored five goals to become the second highest scorer for the tournament. 
Tomáš Skuhravý 
ST: Guillermo Stabile (Argentina)
He began his career with with Huracán.  He started out on the right wing but soon evolved into a centre forward. Stábile won many competitions with Huracán, most notably the championships of 1925 and 1928.  He was capped 31 times for Argentina and went to the first ever World Cup Finals.  He finished as the top scorer.  Then, he moved to Italy, playing for Genoa and Napoli before heading to France with Red Star Paris.

ST: Edoardo Catto (Italy)
He played his only game for the Italy national football team on March 9, 1924 in a game against Spain.  He is Genoa C.F.C.'s number one scorer in history with 92 goals in the Italian championship. He won the Italian championship with the club in 1922/23 and 1923/24.

ST:  Roberto Pruzzo (Italy)
Pruzzo made his debut in professional football for Genoa in 1973, winning the Serie B title during the 1975–76 season, as well as the top scoring award.  Pruzzo went to Roma in 1979, for the then record sum of 3 billions liras. Here he became famous as one of the most effective Italian strikers of the 1980s, winning one scudetto during the 1982–83 season, and four Italian Cups in 1980, 1981, 1983, and 1986. He also won the Serie A top scorer award three times, in 1981, 1982, and 1986.  Capped 6 times and went to Euro 1980.
Roberto Pruzzo

Honorable Mention
Bror Mellberg, Ivan Juric, Silvano Martina, Simone Braglia,  Amedeo Cattani, Delfo Bellini, Giacomo Neri, Luigi Burlando, Aristodemo Santamaria, Mario Genta.

Squad Explanation
-- Yes, James Richardson Spensley was playing in an era when Italian football was probably very amateurish, but he won 6 titles with Genoa.  The club only managed to win the title 9 times in total.  He must have contributed to the club.  I did not really consider the fact that he was the founder of the club.  
-- As mentioned, Genoa won 9 Serie A titles.  All of them came before the Second World War.  Thus, a large number of the players selected were from the War.
-- Renzo De Vecchi is probably the biggest Italian star ever played for them.  He is the first ever star player from Italy.  Guillermo Stábile is the most famous player ever to have played for them.
- Geona enjoyed a tiny resurgence during the early 1990's.  John van 't Schip, Vincenzo Torrente,  Gianluca Signorini, Tomáš Skuhravý, Gennaro Ruotolo all played for Geona at that time.
-- Marco Rossi spent time with the club at the lower division.  I rewarded him for his loyalty and for taking to the club to reach the next level.
-- Stefano Eranio was one of the few players after the Second World War who was capped by Italy while playing for Genoa.


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