Monday, November 6, 2017

Italy Greatest All-Time Team after 1982


World Cup 2006

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
Italy All Time Team
Italian diaspora
Southern ItalyCentral Italy,
Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy)Lombardy
Italy between 1938 and 1982
 
Italy waited 44 years before winning the 1982 World Cup.  That summer, Serie A also relaxed its policy on foreign players.  The best players in the world all went to play over there.  For over 20 years, the league became one of the best in the world.  

This is my selection of Italy All-Time Team after Italy's World Cup victory in 1982.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.


Itatly 1994

Team 
GK: Gianluigi Buffon
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: Walter Zenga 
Walter Zenga was considered one of Italy's greatest keepers.   He played 58 times for Italy, notably at the 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy. He had five clean sheet, a total of 518 minutes without conceding a goal, a record still standing in the World Cup Finals.  He played mainly for Inter Milan, where his career lasted from 1978 to 1994. He won a UEFA Cup with them.

GK: Gianluca Pagliuca 
He made his name with Sampdoria, winning the league in 1990-1991 and reaching the European Cup's final in 1992.  In 1994, Inter Milan broke the world transfer record for a keeper to sign him.  While at Inter, he reached UEFA Cup Final twice, winning it in 1997-1998.  For the national team, he was the starting keeper at both USA 1994 and France 1998.  

RB/LB: Gianluca Zambrotta  
Gianluca Zambrotta was one of the best fullbacks in the world during his prime.  He could play both rightback and leftback. He had 98 caps between 1999 and 2010.  He was a member of the 2006 World Cup winning team..  He was selected to the team of the tournament.  He played mainly with Juventus, but also played for Barceloina, Bari, AC Milan, etc.

RB: Christian Panucci 
Panucci's breakout season was the season 1993-1994, when he played 19 games for AC Milan and won the 1994 Champions' League.  The highlight of his career was perhaps his three seasons with Real Madrid.  He helped them to win the Champions' League in 1998.  His longest stint was, however, with Roma.  He had 57 caps with Italy, but his career was very rocky.  He never secured a regular place with the team.
Christian Panucci 
SW: Ciro Ferrara 
Ferrara's career with Italy was limited by playing in the same period with Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Pietro Vierchowod, Riccardo Ferri, Giuseppe Bergomi, Paolo Maldini, 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: Alessandro Costacurta 
He was Baresi's partner at central defense for both club and country. He was a long term serving member of AC Milan.  He was a part of 5 Champions' League winning team for AC Milan.  However, he only played 59 times for Italy because largely of injuries. He went to two World Cup Finals (in 1994 and 1998), as well as a Euro 1996.

CB: Fabio Cannavaro
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/SW: Alessandro Nesta
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 WC winning team, but injured in 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/LB: Giorgio Chiellini
Chiellini played with Livorno, Roma and Fiorentina before moving to Juventus in 2005. With Juventus, he has won seven consecutive Serie A titles from 2012 to 2018. He 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: Paolo Maldini
He was considered the greatest leftback of all-time.  He won 26 trophies in his 25 year career with AC Milan, including 5 Champions' league trophies. With Italy, he took part in three European Championships, and four World Cups. He reached the finals of the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000, and the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1988, and was selected into the all-star teams for 5 tournaments. He was capped 126 times for Italy.
Paolo Maldini
DM: Gennaro Gattuso
He was a highly regarded destroyer in his prime. He spent 13 years with AC Milan, forming a famous partnership with Andreas Pirlo. He also played for Rangers, Perugia and Sion. He won two Champions' League with the club.  For the Azzurri, he earned 73 caps.  He went to three World Cup Finals, winning the 2006 WC Finals. 
Gennaro Gattuso

DM: Daniele De Rossi 
At the time of writing, he has played his entire career with Roma.  De Rossi inherited the captaincy of Roma in 2017 following Francesco Totti's retirement.  He went to every major international tournaments since 2004.  He had 117 caps after 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. 

CM: Demetrio Albertini 
Demetrio Albertini was the deep-lying playmaker of the great AC Milan team of the 1990's.  He won 5 league titles in the 1990's and the Champions' League title in 1994. He played for his country 79 times.  He went to the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, Euro 96, and Euro 2000. He was voted into the team of tournament at Euro 2000.

CM:  Andrea Pirlo
Pirlo started as an attack midfielder with Inter Milan without success before becoming a regista.  He redefined the regista role in the modern game.  He had 116 caps.  He won the World Cup in 2006 and took Italy to the Final of Euro 2012.  For his club career, he was known for his career with AC Milan.  He played over 280 matches for them, winning two Champions' League titles.  He switched to Juventus late in his career.  
Andrea Pirlo
LW: Roberto Donadoni 
Donadoni was one of Italy's greatest wingers.  He was a vital part of Milan's squad under both Sacchi and Capello, winning six Serie A titles, three European Cups, four Italian Supercups, three European Super Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups during his time at Milan. He went to the WC Finals in 1990 and 1994.

AM: Alessandro Del Piero 
Del Piero is considered to be one of Juventus' greatest players. He played with them for 19 years (11 years as captain), and holds the club records for most goals (289) and appearances (705). He played 91 times for Italy. 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/LM: Francesco Totti 
Totti was the long serving captain of Roma and perhaps the greatest ever player for the club.  Roma won the Serie A 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.  A 2006 World Cup winner and Euro 2000 finalist 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/FW: Roberto Baggio
He 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.  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

FW: Gianluca Vialli 
He first made his name with Sampdoria, helping them to win the Cup Winners' Cup in 1990.  In 1992, he made a world record breaking transfer to Juventus.  In 1996, he helped Juventus to win their first ever Champions' League.  He went to Euro 1988, where he was named in the team of tournament.  However, at Italia 1990, he lost his starting spot. 

ST: Filippo Inzaghi 
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).  For Italy, 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 
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
Francesco Toldo, Angelo Peruzzi, Mauro Tassotti, Gianluca Pessotto, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Riccardo Ferri,  Giuseppe Giannini, Roberto Mancini, Gianfranco Zola, Giuseppe Signori, Luca Toni, Dino Baggio, Salvatore Schillaci, Mauro Camoranesi.

Squad Explanation
  -- Franco Baresi was a member of the 1982 World Cup team.
-- Buffon is the obvious first choice for goalkeepers, followed by Zenga.  Then, Pagliuca edges out Toldo and Peruzzi. Gianluigi Donnarumma will probably become one of the all-time greats, but only time will tell.
-- Mauro Tassotti was more famous than Panucci because he played for that great AC Milan team. But Panucci earned more caps for Italy.
-- Zambrotta can play both sides of the backline.
-- Italy has a lot of talents on the centerback position.  Cannavaro and Nesta were the obvious choices.  Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Alessandro Costacurta, Riccardo Ferri and Ciro Ferrara were all great backs.  In the end, I took Costacurta and Ferrara.  Giorgio Chiellini was selected because he could also serve as a backup left back.  

Formation
I tried to fit the best players on the starting lineup.  I moved Baggio to the right position.



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