Sunday, September 11, 2016

Parma Greatest All-Time Team

UEFA Cup 1999

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

AC MilanJuventusInter Milan,

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.

Parma was mainly a lower division club until the late 1980's. Financed by Calisto Tanzi, the club won these eight trophies between 1992 and 2002.  It won three Coppa Italia, one Supercoppa Italiana, two UEFA Cups, one European Super Cup and one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.  They were also Serie A runners-up in the 1996–97 season – and threatened the dominance of the league's established powers: Juventus, A.C. Milan and Inter Milan, the only Italian sides to have had more success in European competition than Parma.

GK: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
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: Sébastien Frey (France)
Frey began his club career in France with Cannes in 1997, but later went on to spend most of his career in the Italian Serie A, playing for Internazionale, Verona, Parma, Fiorentina, and Genoa; he ended his career in 2015, after two seasons with Turkish side Bursaspor. At international level, he represented the France national football team on two occasions between 2007 and 2008 and was an unused member of the squad that took part at UEFA Euro 2008.

GK: Luca Bucci (Italy)
Bucci played for several Italian clubs throughout his career; he is mostly remembered for his successful spell with Parma, where he won an UEFA Supercup in 1993, and an UEFA Cup in 1995; he also received runners-up medals in the Coppa Italia, in the Cup Winners' Cup, and in Serie A with the club.   Capped 3 times.

RB/CB:  Lilian Thuram (Italy)
Lilian Thuram is France's most capped player.  He was known for his strength, pace and stamina.  He played at the top flight in France, Italy and Spain for over 15 seasons, including ten in the Serie A with both Parma and Juventus. With France, Thuram won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, and was in the runner-up squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.  He scored two goals vs Croatia in the semifinal of the World Cup in 1998. 
Lilian Thuram
RB: Roberto Mussi (Italy)
Roberto Mussi started in the lower divsion and noted for helping Parma to reach Serie B under Arrigo Sacchi in 1986.  In 1987, Sacchi took him to AC Milan, winning the European Cup in 1989.  In 1989, he helped to Torino to grain promoation to Serie A.  Then, in 1994, he returned to Parma where he found the greatest successeses.  He won the UEFA Cup twice.

CB: Lorenzo Minotti (Italy)
Throughout his club career, Lorenzo Minotti played for Italian sides Cesena, Parma, Cagliari, Torino, and Treviso; he is mostly remembered for his successful stint with Parma between 1987 and 1996.  He was capped 8 times between 1994 and 1995 for Italy, and was a non-playing member of the team that reached the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final.

CB: Ivo Cocconi (Italy)
Born in Parma, Ivo Cocconi  played his entire career with his hometown team Parma. He made his debut on 2 April 1950 in a 2–1 defeat against Cesena at the age of twenty. Three years later, as captain, he led the side to promotion to Serie B, where the club spent the rest of his time there. He holds the record for league appearances at Parma, playing 308 times from 1950 to 1962.

CB: Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
Fabio Cannavaro was capped 138 times 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. He started his career with Napoli and had spells with Parma, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.

Fabio Cannavaro
CB: Roberto Sensini (Argentina)
Started in 1986 for Newell's Old Boys before moving to Udinese.  Sensini moved to Parma in 1993, winning two UEFA Cups, two Italian Cups, and the UEFA Super Cup. He would then have a brief stint with S.S. Lazio, winning the scudetto, the Italian Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, and the Supercoppa Italiana.  He played in the World Cup 1990, 1994 and 1998. In the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final Sensini conceded the disputed penalty kick from which West Germany scored their winning goal.

CB: Luigi Apolloni (Italy)
Luigi Apolloni started his career playing in Serie B and C.  He joined Parma in 1987, became a key member of the squad that guided the club from the Serie B to the top levels of European football, including triumphs in the 1991–92 Coppa Italia, a runners-up Cup Winners' Cup campaign in 1993–94, and two UEFA Cups in 1995 and 1999. Capped 15 times.  He played in 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA and Euro 1996 in England.

LB/RB: Antonio Benarrivo (Italy)
Antonio Benarrivo began his career with Brindisi in 1986, and later moved to Padova in 1989. He came to prominence during his time with Parma, joining the club in 1991; he won several domestic and European titles with the team and eventually became the club's record appearance holder in Serie A and in European competitions. He was the starting fullback at USA 1994 and remembered for winning the penalty that won the game against Nigeria.

DM: Dino Baggio (Italy)
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.
Dino Baggio
RW: Diego Fuser (Italy)
Fuser started his professional career with Torino in 1986. before moving to AC Milan in 1989.  From 1992 to 1998, he played for Lazio, winning the Coppa Italia and reaching the UEFA Cup Final in 1998, as the club's captain. After moving to Parma in 1998 he won the UEFA cup, the Coppa Italia and the Italian Super Cup in 1999. He captained the team and won the 1999 UEFA Cup. For Italy, he was capped 25 times. He played three matches at Euro 1996

LM: Július Korostelev (Czechoslovakia)
Július Korostelev was born in Slovakia what was then Czechoslovakia. He was capped once in 1946. At the club level, Korostelev started his career with SK Bratislava in 1945, but he moved to play in Italy in 1946.  He played the majority of his football in Italy, with clubs such as Juventus, Atalanta, Reggina and Parma. He played for Parma between 1951 and 1956.  

AM/CM: Juan Sebastián Verón (Argentina)
Juan Sebastian Veron was the son of a Estudiantes de La Plata great Juan Ramon Veron.  He was also a hero at the club.  Both father and son won the Copa Libertadores for the club.  He also played briefly for Boca Juniors in 1996.  He had an extended career in Europe, playing for Parma, Lazio, Sampdoria, Manchester United, Chelsea, Inter Milan, etc.  He was considered one of the best Argentine player of his generation, winning 73 caps between 1996 and 2010.
Juan Sebastian Veron
AM: Stefano Fiore (Italy)
Stefano Fiore started out with Cosenza in 1992, but known for his career with Parma, 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 attacker midfielders.  He played at Euro 2000 and 2004.

AM: Marco Osio (Italy)
Nicknamed "Il Sindaco" (The Mayor), Marco Osio moved to Parma in 1987, where he helped the club that climbed from Serie C1 to the top division, Serie A, winning the Coppa Italia, and the European Cup Winners' Cup.  In 1993, after six seasons with Parma, he returned to Torino for two seasons before an unexpected move to Brazilian club Palmeiras, which makes him one of the very few Italian footballers to have ever played in Brazil.

AM: Tomas Brolin (Sweden)
Tomas Brolin was a star player in the early 1990's, where he helped Sweden to finish 3rd the1994 World Cup and reached semi-final in Europran Championship in 1992 at home.  At the club level, he played for Parma between 1990 and 1995, a period considered to be a Golden era for the club.  After an injury in 1995, he never regained form and bounced around different clubs before retiring at the age of 31.  

AM: Gianfranco Zola (Italy)
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, where he became a star in the Premiership. He won the FWA Footballer of the Year.  He only played 35 times for Italy due to overcrowding of attack midfielders during his prime. 

FW: Faustino Asprilla (Colombia)
Faustino Asprilla was known for his wild lifestyle outside the game.  He played 57 times for Colombia between 1993 and 2001.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998. He was known as one of the best attackers in Italy when he played for Parma between 1992 and 1996.  He won an UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1992. He scored 4 goals in 8 matches during that run. He also played for Newcastle before moving to play in Brazil and Argentina.
Faustino Asprilla
ST: Enrico Chiesa (Italy)
A prolific goalscorer, Chiesa played for several Italian clubs throughout his career, winning titles with Sampdoria, Parma, and Fiorentina; he later also had spells with Lazio, Siena and Figline. He won the 1998–99 UEFA Cup with Parma, finishing the tournament as the top scorer, with 8 goals. He was capped 22 times between 1996 and 2001, scoring 7 goals, and took part at UEFA Euro 1996 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

ST: William Bronzoni (Italy)
William Bronzoni started career his in 1945 with Parma, where he played in Serie B and Serie C. He played 201 matches and scored 78 league goals, which remains a club record to this day. He also captained the club.  He also played for other clubs in the lower division later in his career.  He won the Serie C title with Livorno in 1955. He retired in 1962.

ST: Adriano (Brazil)
Adriano started his career in 2000 with Flamengo.  He signed with Inter Milan in 2001.  In 2002, Parma signed a co-woneship agreement with him.  For them, he scored 23 goals in 37 games.  He returned to Inter Milan in 2004, where he was enjoying a great performance.  However, shortly after he signed a new contract, his form dropped.  He was never the same player again.  Capped 48 times for Brazil. His fitness level was poor at the World Cup Finals in 2006.

ST: Alberto Gilardino (Italy)
With 188 Serie A goals, Gilardino is currently among the top 10 all-time scorers in Serie A history and ranks 2nd among active players after Francesco Totti.  He played for many clubs in Italy.  With Milan, he won the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League, the 2007 UEFA Super Cup and the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup. Gilardino has also played for Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande, with whom he won the 2014 Chinese Super League.  Capped 57 times, he was the starting attacker as Italy won the World Cup in 2006.
Alberto Gilardino
ST: Hernán Crespo (Argentina)
Started with River Plate,  Hernán Crespo went on to play for many big clubs in both Italy and England.  He won three Serie A scudetti, a Copa Libertadores, a Premier League title and an Olympic Games silver medal. At international level, Crespo's career was limited by playing with Gabriel Batistuta, but he still managed to score 35 goals and is Argentina's third highest goalscorer. He played in three FIFA World Cups: 1998, 2002, 2006.
Hernán Crespo
Honorable Mention
Daniele Bonera (Italy), Alessandro Melli (Italy), Gabriele Pin (Italy), Mario Stanic (Croatia), Massimo Crippa (Italy), Domenico Morfeo (Italy), Marco Di Vaio (Italy), Fernando Couto (Portugal), Adrian Mutu (Romania), Alberto Di Chiara (Italy).

Squad Explanation-
- Parma's history is relatively new as compared to the other Italian club teams mentioned here on my blog.  Their first Serie A season was in the 1990-1991 season.  They won 8 titles in Italy, which placed them at 11th on the all-time list for Italian clubs, just ahead of Sampdoria.  All of their titles came after the 1990's.  
-- The successes of the club began because of Investment from parent company Parmalat.  When their money went dry, it marked their downfall.  They have been struggling since the early 2000's.
-- Parma won the 1995 UEFA Cup.  From that team, I took Goalkeeper Luca Bucci, Gianfranco Zola, Stefano Fiore, Faustino Asprilla, Dino Baggio, Fernando Couto, Roberto Sensini and Roberto Mussi for my All-Time Team. 
-- Parma won their second UEFA Cup four years later in 1999. Some of the players from their 1995 team were still there.  However, their 1999 UEFA Cup winning team had three new faces who would become the legends of the game, namely Gianluigi Buffon, Lilian Thuram and Fabio Cannavaro.  Hernán Crespo, Enrico Chiesa and Juan Sebestian Veron were also not on the 1995 team.  Faustino Asprilla left the club and retuned in time to win his second UEFA Cup.
-- I honoured the old-timers William Bronzoni, Ivo Cocconi and Július Korostelev here.  Bronzoni still holds the club record for the highest number of goals scored while Ivo Cocconi is the appearance record holder.  Both of them played for Parma when they were in the lower division. 
-- Marco Osio helped the club to climb from Serie C to Serie A.  It was a very important part of the club history.
-- Due to the short history of Parma, many of the players selected only played for a short game at the club at the beginning of their careers.   Gianluigi Buffon, Lilian Thuram and Fabio Cannavaro made their name with the club.  
-- Luigi Apolloni and Lorenzo Minotti played through the club's rise from Serie B to winning the UEFA Cup in the 1990's.  
-- Roberto Mussi played for Parma in the 1980's under manager Arrigo Sacchi when it was still in the lower division.  Sacchi took him to AC Milan, where he found some successes. Later, he returned to Parma when the club was in the greatest period of time.  He won two UEFA Cups. Unlike Luigi Apolloni and Lorenzo Minotti, Mussi actually played with Parma when they were in Serie C2.
-- Fernando Couto is a strange case.  He spent two seasons in his first stint with the club.  He played well in his first season, but he struggled with injuries in his second.  Then, he returned to Parma in 2005.  He played three uneventful seasons at the end of his career.  So I only can put him on honorable mention.
-- Adriano and Adrian Mutu formed a famous powerful with Parma, but I could only chose one of them.  Both only spent limited time at Parma.  Mutu had a better career overall, but Adriano was better at Parma.  Basically, he never achieved the same level after he left Parma.  So I took Adriano and put Adrian Mutu on honorable mention.
-- Juan Sebestian Veron also played one season, but he won the Double (Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup).  
-- Gianfranco Zola together with Tomas Brolin and Faustino Asprilla formed one of the best offensive in Italy during the 1990's.  Gianfranco Zola later continued his stardom in England with Chelsea.  After Parma, Faustino Asprilla had many issues and never lived up to his performance.  He tried to make a comeback here after two seasons with Newcastle United.  He contributed to Parma winning the UEFA Cup. Tomas Brolin suffered a serious injury in 1995.  He never regained his former self.
-- Claudio Taffarel was mainly a backup keeper when he played for Parma.


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