Friday, January 30, 2015

Lombardy Greatest All-Time Team

Walter Zenga, Riccardo Ferri and Franco Baresi

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

Lombardy is the most populous and richest region in Italy.   About 10 million people live in Lombardy, forming more than one-sixth of Italy's population, and more than a fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in the region, making it the most populous, richest and most productive region in the country. It is also one of the top regions in Europe for the same criteria.  Lombardy is also the Italian region with most UNESCO World Heritage Sites—Italy (tied with China) having the highest number of World Heritage Sites in the world. The region is also famous for its historical figures such as Virgil, Pliny the Elder, Ambrose, Caravaggio, Claudio Monteverdi, Antonio Stradivari, Cesare Beccaria, Alessandro Volta, Alessandro Manzoni, and popes John XXIII and Paul VI.

It is also the home of Atalanta, Brescia, AC Milan and Inter Milan.  While some of the players on those great clubs came from other regions in Italy, Lombardy produced a lot of great footballers.  

If there were an All-Time World Cup, Lombardy could create a team that is as good as any country in the world and this would be 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  All players were born in Lombardy. The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.
Demetrio Albertini and Paulo Maldini


GK: Walter Zenga
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 WC Finals.  He played mainly for Inter Milan, but also with Sampdoria, Padova and New England Revolution in the MLS of the USA. He won two UEFA Cups with Inter Milan.
Walter Zenga
GK:  Christian Abbiati
He spent almost his entire career with AC Milan with various loan spells.  He started his career with Monza, and later played more than 300 official matches for Milan. He also spent loan spells at Borgosesia Calcio, Juventus, Torino and Atletico Madrid. His honours include three Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, two Supercoppa Italiana victories, one UEFA Champions League and one UEFA Super Cup.  He was only capped 3 times for Italy.

GK: Luciano Castellini
Luciano Castellini earned a single cap for Italy in 1977 against Belgium.  He went to 1974 World Cup Finals as the third keeper behind Dino Zoff and Enrico Albertosi,.  For his club career, he started with Monza.  He played for Torino from 1970 to 1978.  He was a club hero with Torino, winning the Serie A title in 1976. From 1978 to 1985, he played for Napoli.

CB/RB: Giuseppe Bergomi
Giuseppe Bergomi was one of Inter Milan's greatest defender, winning one scudetto and three UEFA Cups with them.  He played his entire career with Inter Milan.  He held the record of most appearance in the UEFA Cup. Bergomi won the World Cup in 1982 and appeared in the 1986 and 1990 World Cup Finals. He was capped 81 times between 1982 and 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.

CB: Pietro Vierchowood
Nicknamed lo Zar ("the Tsar"), Pietro Vierchowood was the son of an Ukrainian Red Army soldier. He played 562 Serie A matches, and is the seventh-highest appearance holder of all time in Serie A.  He played for Como, Fiorentina, Roma, Sampdoria and Juventus, where he won his only Champions League in 1996.  He went to three World Cup Finals.

SW: Franco Baresi
Franco Baresi was considered Italy's greatest libero.  He was capped 82 times between 1982 and 1994.  He led the Azzurri to the semifinal of the World Cup in 1990 and then, the Final in 1994.  However, he missed most of the tournament in 1994 through an injury, playing in the Final.  He was a part of the 1982 World Cup winning team, but he did not play a single match.  He was a one club man with AC Milan. He is their captain for 15 years, where he won three European Cups and 6 Serie A titles. 
Franco Baresi
SW: Gaetano Scirea
Scirea was the starting libero for Italy's World Cup winning team in Spain 1982 and Juventus throughout the 1980's.  He is considered one of the greatest defenders ever played the game.  He is one of only five players in history to have won all international trophies for football clubs recognized by UEFA and FIFA.  He had 78 caps for Italy. He also played in 1978 and 1986 World Cup Finals as well as the European Championship of 1980.

CB: Alessandro Costacurta
Alessandro Costacurta 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 largely because of injuries. He played in three major tournaments for Italy, leading Italy to the Final of USA 1994.

CB: Riccardo Ferri
Riccardo Ferri spent most of his career with Inter Milan, where he is considerd to be a legend.  With them, he won two UEFA Cups in 1991 and 1994, and a Serie A title in 1989.  Between 1994 and 1996, he played with Sampdoria along side his teammate Walter Zenga. He had 45 caps.  He played at Euro 1989 and the 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy. 

CB/LB: Renzo De Vecchi
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 3 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.  In total, he made 43 appearances for Italy between 1910 and 1925, playing at the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympic Games. 

CB/LB: Paolo Maldini 
Paolo Maldini 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
LB: Giacinto Facchetti
Until the emerge of Paolo Maldini, Giacinto Facchetti was considered to be Italy's greatest left back. He spent his entire career with Inter Milan from 1960 to 1978.  He was the star wingback of La Grande Inter where they won back-to-back European Cups in the 1960's.  He was capped 94 times for Italy and also won the Euro 1968 with Italy. He played in 1966, 1970 and 1974 World Cup Finals.
Giacinto Facchetti
DM: Gabriele Oriali
Gabriele Oriali was the starting defensive midfielder at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.  For Italy, he had 28 caps between 1978 and 1983. He also played in Euro 1980 hosted by Italy.  He was a great destroyer at his time.  He played mainly for Inter Milan, but also with Fiorentina. He won two scudettos and two Italian Cups with Inter Milan.

CM: Andrea Pirlo 
Andrea Pirlo started as an attack midfielder with Inter Milan without success before becoming a regista with AC Milan.  He redefined the regista role in recent years.  He won the World Cup in 2006 and took Italy to the Final of Euro 2012.  He played over 280 matches for AC Milan, winning two Champions' League titles.  He switched to Juventus late in his career and also played for New York City FC in the MLS.
Andrea Pirlo
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. At the international level, 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, where Italy finished second.

AM: Valentino Mazzola
Valentino Mazzola was one of the best players in the world during the 1940's.  He was the captain and symbol of the "Grande Torino", the team recognised as one of the strongest in the world during the second half of the 1940s, with whom Mazzola won five Serie A championships.  His career, however, was limited by the War.  He never played in the World Cup.  His life was cut short by the Superga Air Disaster in 1949.  His son is Sandro Mazzola, who became a star player for Italy in the 1970's.

RW: Angelo Domenghini  
Domenghini began his professional career with Atalanta in 1960. He then moved to Inter Milan in 1964, and was a member of manager Helenio Herrera's highly successful "Grande Inter" squad.  He was capped on 33 times for Italy between 1963 and 1972. He notably scored the equalizer in the 80th minute against Yugoslavia in the Final of Euro 1968. Italy then went on to win the replay 2–0. He later went on to take part in the 1970 World Cup. 

LW: Roberto Donadoni
Roberto Donadoni was one of Italy's greatest wingers.  He was a vital part of AC Milan's squad under both Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio 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. Between 1986 and 1996, he earned over 60 caps for Italy.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1990 and 1994, and the European Championship in 1988 and 1996.
Roberto Donadoni

Giuseppe Meazza is one of Italy's greatest players. At the international level, he had 53 caps, scorimg 33 times. He led Italy winning two World Cups in 1934 and 1938.  He was probably the best player in the 1930's.  He was the best player at the 1934 World Cup Finals ands as captain in 1938. At the club level, he played mainly for Inter Milan in the 1930s, scoring 242 goals in 365 games for the club. He also played for AC Milan, Juventus, Varese, and Atalanta.  The home stadium for both AC Milan and Inter Milan in San Siro is named after him.

ST: Roberto Boninsegna
Roberto Boninsegna was a key player as Italy reached the World Cup Final in 1970, scoring Italy's lone goal at the Final against Brazil.  He also played in the World Cup Finals in 1974, but was overlooked for the Euro 1968. For his club career, his best years were with Inter Milan, where he won a single scudetto.  In 1976, he joined Juventus, winning two more scudetto, an Italian Cup and an UEFA Cup.

ST:  Silvio Piola
Silvio Piola is one of Italy's greatest footballers.  He is the the all-time leading scorer in the Italian league.  He was third all-time leading scorer for the Azzurri even through his career was cut short by the World War II.  Piola won the 1938 World Cup with Italy, scoring two goals in the final, ending the tournament as the second best player and the second highest scorer. In 2011, he was posthumously inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.

ST: Luigi Riva
Luigi Riva was the all-time leading scorer for the Italy.  At international level, Riva won the 1968  European Championship and was runner-up at the 1970 World Cup with the Italian national team; he also took part at the 1974 World Cup. With 35 goals in 42 appearances (in all official competitions) between 1965 and 1974. He was Serie A top scorer for three seasons. He was probably the best ever player at Cagliari, leading them to win their only scudetti in 1970.
Luigi Riva

Honorable Mention
Marco Delvecchio, Pierluigi Casiraghi, Giuseppe Signori,  Riccardo Montolivo, Giuseppe Baresi, Sandro Salvadore, Antonio Cabrini, Aldo Campatelli, Matteo Darmian, Giuseppe Favalli, Daniele Massaro, Aristide Guarneri, Ugo Locatelli, Gianluca Vialli, Carlo Annovazzi, Moreno Torricelli, Daniele Bonera, Giacomo Losi, Mario Rigamonti, Ugo Locatelli, Giovanni Trapattoni, Luciano Re Cecconi.

Squad Explanation
-- Giuseppe Bergomi, Franco Baresi, Gaetano Scirea, Paolo Maldini,  Giacinto Facchetti, Silvio Piola, Andrea Pirlo, Valentino Mazzola and Luigi Riva are on my All-Time Italy team.
-- Lombardy is the home of AC Milan and Inter Milan. San Siro was actually officially known as Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.  Piedmont is near Lombardy.  Many players also played for Juventus and Torino FC. 
-- The team is relatively young team, given its history of the region.  Giuseppe Meazza, Renzo De Vecchi and Silvio Piola are the only two players selected from before the 1930's, where Italy won two World Cups.  Ugo Locatelli only made honorable mention.  He was also from the 1938 World Cup winning team alongside Giuseppe Meazza and Silvio PiolaValentino Mazzola played in the 1940's.  
-- Only two players were on the 2006 World Cup winning team. They were Gianluca Zambrotta and Andreas Pirlo.  The region was under represented.
-- On the 1982 World Cup team, I have Giuseppe Bergomi, Franco Baresi, Gaetano Scirea, Pietro Vierchowod and Gabriele Oriali. Antonio Cabrini just missed out.
-- Giacinto Facchetti and Angelo Domenghini are the only members of La Grande Inter Milan.  Roberto Boninsegna joined Inter Milan in 1969 after that era.
-- AC Milan's great team of the 1980's are also well represented here with Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta and Roberto Donadoni.  Daniele Massaro also made honorable mention.
-- Atalanta is probably the third best club in the region.  Giuseppe Meazza, Angelo Domenghini  and Roberto Donadoni played for them.  Of course, they were better known for their careers in Inter Milan and AC Milan, respectively.  Coincidently, both played on the wings.  Antonio Cabrini also played for them before he joined Juventus.
-- Luigi Riva is the only players on this team who did not play for any of the four clubs. Riva did start his career with AC Legnano in Lombardy, which was playing in Serie C during his career there. His career was linked with Cagliari, where he was their greatest ever player.
-- Giuseppe Signori who was on the honorable mention also did not play for AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus or Torino.  He played in the youth team of Inter Milan, but was released before becoming a professional.
-- The team has strengths in all-department.  Every player, except the two backup keepers considered to be the greatest in Italy's history. The goalkeeper position is considered weak.  Walter Zenga is the only one considered as one of the all-time greats. Both Luciano Castellini and Christian Abbiati had limited international experience.
-- I usually brought 8 defenders, but this team has ten.
-- It is also the home of three of the greatest leftbacks in football's history, namely Paolo Maldini, Giacinto Facchetti and Antonio Cabrini. Because of Paolo Maldini and  Giacinto Facchetti, Antonio Cabrini had been ignored by many of my all-time teams.  Renzo De Vecchi and Gianluca Zambrotta can also play there.
-- Gianluca Zambrotta can play on both sides of the fullback position. I probably used him as a rightback.  He is from Como.
-- Gaetano Scirea and Franco Baresi are probably two of the greatest sweepers ever played the game.
-- Giuseppe Baresi was left off the team because there were too many great central defenders.  He is probably one of Inter Milan's greatest players. His brother is Franco.  Ironically, he was edged out by Riccardo Ferri and Giuseppe Bergomi, who were all-time greats with Inter Milan as well.
-- Andrea Pirlo replaced Demetrio Albertini's position on the national team.  When Pirlo retired, Riccardo Montolivo is basically Italy's deep lying playmaker.  All three of them were "regista".
-- Andreas Pirlo was born in Brescia, Lombardy.  He made his Serie A debut with Brescia. The name "Pirlo" is also the name of a Brescian drink.  It was not named after him.  It is a traditional aperitivo drunk in the region that is very similar to the Venetian Spritz.
-- Sandro Mazzola was born in Turin, Piedmont, when his father was playing with Torino. His rival Gianni Rivera was also born in Piedmont.  Mazzola is considered Inter Milan's greatest player while Rivera is AC Milan.  Their rivalry was well-known in Italy's football history.  Coincidently, both were not born here.
-- Cesare Maldini was born in Trieste.  His son Paolo was born in Milan after he retired from playing football.   
-- Attilio Lombardo is from Southern Italy.  
-- Gianluca Vialli also did not play on any Lombardy club team.  He grew up in a rich family in Cremona, where his family home was the 60-room Castello di Belgioioso in Cremona.  He started his career with Cremonese.  Antonio Cabrini also came from that club.  Both only made honorable mention.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy) Greatest All-Time Team

Alessandro Del Piero and Roberto Baggio

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

What if Italy qualified for Euro 1992

Northern Italy is the most developed and productive area of the country, with one of the highest GDPs per capita in Europe. It was the first part of Italy to become industrialised in the last half of the 19th century; the so-called industrial triangle was formed by the manufacturing centres of Milan and Turin, as well as the seaport of Genoa. Since then, the industrial core of the area has shifted eastward; the current industrial triangle consists of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna. A similar shift happened for GDP per capita, and the eastern regions (including Lombardy) have since become wealthier than Piedmont and Liguria. With a 2008 nominal GDP estimated at €772,676 million, Northern Italy accounts for 54.8% of the Italian economy, despite having just 45.8% of the population.

Northern Italy is consisted Valle d'Aosta, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Trentino Alto-Adige. Lombardy is so rich with football talents.  I have created a separated all-time team for them.  This is my all-time 23 member team for the rest of Northern Italy.  

This us The region is home of Juventus, Torino, Sampdoria, Genoa, Udinese, Chievo Verona, Cesena, Parma and Bologna. 

GK: Dino Zoff (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
Dino Zoff captained the World Cup winning side in 1982 at the age of 40.  He held the Serie A appearance record until 2006. He was also a part of the team that won the European Championship in 1968, starting most of the matches. He achieved great club success with Juventus, winning 6 Serie A titles, 2 Coppa Italias, and an UEFA Cup, also reaching two European Champions' Cup finals in 1972-73 and 1982-83 seasons. He also played for Udinese, Mantova and Napoli.
Dino Zoff
GK: Giampiero Combi (Piedmont)
Combi won the 1934 WC with Italy.  He was considered one of the best in the world during his time.  He spent his entire career with Juventus.  He played 351 games in Serie A, winning five titles – in 1926 (having conceded only 18 goals during the season), 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1934 as part of the first golden age of the club with a record of five championship victories in a row, a feat known as Il Quinquennio d'Oro (The Golden Quinquennium).

GK: Lorenzo Buffon (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)  
Buffon was one of the best keepers in the 1950's and early 1960's.  He helped AC Milan to reach the Final of the 1958 European Cup Final.  He also played for Genoa C.F.C. (1959–60), F.C. Internazionale Milano (1960–63), and ACF Fiorentina (1963–64). His cousin is Gianluigi Buffon's Grandfather.  He had 15 caps and went to the 1962 World Cup Finals.

RB: Tarcisio Burgnich (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
Throughout his career, Burgnich played for Udinese, Juventus, Palermo, Internazionale, and Napoli; although he won titles with both Juventus and Napoli, he is best known for his time with Inter Milan, where he was a member of manager Helenio Herrera's Grande Inter side.  He also participated and won the Euro 1968 with Italy. 

RB: Christian Panucci (Savona)
Christian Panucci's breakout season was the season 1993-1994, when he played 19 games for AC Milan and won the 1994 UEFA Champions' League.  The highlight of his career was perhaps his three seasons with Real Madrid.  He helped them to win the UEFA Champions' League in 1998.  His longest stint was, however, with AS Roma.  At the international level, he had 57 caps with Italy, but his career was very rocky.  He never secured a regular place with the team.
Christian Panucci 

SW: Armando Picchi (Liguria)
He was the captain of La Garnde Inter.  The team was transformed when Helenio Herrera moved him to the libero position during the 1961-1962 season and a legendary team was born.  He was often credited of changing how the position was played. He was capped 12 times by the Azzurri, but he was left out of the 1966 World Cup team and an injury prevented him from playing at the European Championship of 1968, in which Italy won.
CB/LB: Pietro Rava (Piedmont)
Pietro Rava was a member of the Italian national team that won the World Cup in 1938.  He was selected to the All-tournament team.  He also won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1936.  He played for the clubs U.S. Alessandria (1928–35, 1946–47), Juventus F.C. (1935–46 and 1947–50) and Novara Calcio (1950–51). 
CB: Alfredo Foni (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
Alfredo Foni was Pietro Rava's defensive partner for both Juventus and Italy.  Before joining Juventus in 1934, he played for Udinese, Lazio and Padova. They won the Olympic Gold medal in 1936 and the World Cup in 1938.  He is one of only four Italian players ever to win both the Olympic tournament and the World Cup.

CB/LB: Umberto Caligaris (Piedmont)
Umberto Caligaris played 59 times for Italy between 1922 and 1936. Until the 1970's, he was Italy's record cap holder.  He won the World Cup in 1934.  At the club level, he started with Casale F.B.C..  He was also a key player for Juventus that won five scudettoes in a row in the years 1930–35, where he teamed up with goalkeeper Gianpiero Combi.

CB: Virginio Rosetta (Piedmont)
Virginio Rosetta was a star defender before the Second World War. He was on the 1934 World Cup winning team, but only played one match where he was the captain.  That was also his last international match.  At the club level, he won five consecutive scudetti during the 1930s with Juventus. Only three other Juventus players won more titles than him.

LB: Luigi Allemandi (Piedmont) 
Luigi Allemandi was the starting leftback for Italy at the World Cup in 1934, which Italy won the Cup.  For club football, he played for A.C. Legnano, Juventus, Internazionale Milan, A.S. Roma, S.S.C. Venezia and S.S. Lazio, He was caught for throwing a game between Torino and Juventus in 1927.  He was initially banned for life, but received a pardon in 1928.

LB: Sergio Cervato (Veneto)
Cervato started with F.C. Bolzano, but known for his career with Fiorentina. He won the scudetti with Fiorentina in 1955-56 as their captain where they only lost one match.  The club finished as runners-up for the next four consecutive years in 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960. They reached the 1957 European Cup Final the following season.  He joined Juventus and spent two seasons there, winning two more scudetti.  He played 28 times for Italy.  He participated at the 1954 World Cup Finals.

DM: Romeo Benetti (Veneto)
Nicknamed Panzer (tank), El Tigre (the tiger), and Roccia (rock), Romeo Benetti was a tough defensive midfielder. At international level, he represented Italy on 55 occasions between 1971 and 1980, and took part at the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups, as well as UEFA Euro 1980, achieving fourth-place finishes in the latter two tournaments. He is best remembered for his 5 seasons with AC Milan between 1970 and 1976, winning a Cup Winners' Cup. He also won the 1976–77 UEFA Cup with Juventus. He also played for AS Roma.
Romeo Benetti

DM: Giacomo Bulgarelli (Emilia-Romagna)
He was a member of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup team.   In 1962, he became the youngest Italian goal scorer at the WC Finals.  In 1966, he was the captain of the national team. He also won the European Championship in 1968 at home.  He spent his career mainly with Bologna. He was a part of the squad that won the Serie AS title in 1963-1964 season.  He played in the USA for a single season in 1975.

DM: Dino Baggio (Veneto)
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.

CM: Giovanni Ferrari (Piedmont)
Ferrari was a key player as Italy won back-to-back World Cups in 1934 and 1938. Along with Giuseppe Meazza and Eraldo Monzeglio, he is one of only three Italian players to have won two World Cups.  He was also a part of the great Juventus of the early 1930's.  He won the Serie A a record 8 times, winning 5 titles with Juventus, two with Inter Milan and one with Bologna.

AM: Alessandro Del Piero (Veneto)
Alessandro Del Piero played with them for 19 years (11 years as captain), and holds the club records for most goals (289) and appearances (705).  For the national team, he played 91 times for them, despite the fact that Italy had many players fighting for his position.  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: Gianni Rivera (Piedmont)
Gianni Rivera was Italy's "Golden Boy"of the 1960's and perhaps their best player in his generation.  He won the Ballon d'Or in 1969.  He led AC Milan to win two European Cups in 1963 and 1969. For Italy, he was capped 63 times, scoring 15 goals, at four World Cup Finals (1962, 1966, 1970, and 1974). Rivera is remembered for scoring the decisive goal in Italy's extra-time win over West Germany in the semi-final of Mexico 1970. He shared his midfield duties with Sandro Mazzola.
Gianni Rivera
AM: Sandro Mazzola (Piedmont)
Sandro Mazzola was a part of Inter Milan's "La Grande Inter".  He won four Serie A titles (1963, 1965, 1966 and 1971), two European Cups (1964 and 1965) and two Intercontinental Cups (1964 and 1965).  He won the Euro 1968 with the Azzurri and led them to the WC Finals in 1970.  During his career, he was known for sharing the starting position with AC Milan's Gianni Rivera on the national team. His father was Valentino Mazzola who died when Sandro was 7 years old.
Sandro Mazzola
AM: Roberto Baggio (Veneto)
Roberto Baggio 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 in the World Cup Finals in the USA.  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

RW/FW: Giampiero Boniperti (Piedmont)
Giampiero Boniperti played his entire career with Juventus and is considered one of their greatest ever player.  He was the highest goalscorer in Juventus' history for more than 40 years, until his record was broken by Alessandro Del Piero. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1950 and 1954.  He was capped 38 times and served as captain 24 times.  

FW: Roberto Bettega (Piedmont)
Nicknamed "White Feather" and "Bobby Gol", Roberto Bettega spent most of his career with his hometown team Juventus. He won 7 Serie A titles there.  He went to 1978 World Cup Finals in Argentina, and was voted into the Team of the tournament.  He missed the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain because of an injury.  Thus, he missed out the chance to become a World Cup winner.

ST: Filippo Inzaghi (Emilia-Romagna)
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).  With the national team, 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 (Emilia-Romagna)
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
Gianluca Pagliuca (Emilia-Romagna),  Claudio Marchisio (Piedmont), Cesare Maldini (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Lorenzo Minotti (Emilia-Romagna), Christian Maggio (Veneto), Giovanni Ferrari (Piedmont),  Luca Toni (Emilia-Romagna), Luigi De Agostini (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) , Gianluigi Lentini (Piedmont), Guglielmo Gabetto (Piedmont), Niocla Berti (Emilia-Romagna), Sebastiano Rossi (Emilia-Romagna), Ivano Bordon (Veneto), Fabio Cudicini (Veneto), Aldo Olivieri (Veneto), Giuliano Sarti (Emilia-Romagna) , Francesco Toldo (Veneto), Felice Gasperi (Emilia-Romagna), Virgilio Maroso (Veneto), Gianluca Pessotto (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Roberto Cravero (Piedmont), Eraldo Monzeglio (Piedmont), Fulvio Collovati (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Aldo Ballarin (Veneto), Roberto Rosato (Piedmont), Eusebio Castigliano (Piedmont), Salvatore Bagni (Emilia-Romagna),  Luigi Bertolini (Liguria), Pietro Serantoni (Veneto),  Carlo Parola (Piedmont), Gianfranco Bedin (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Antonio Janni (Piedmont), Mario Corso (Veneto), Gino Colaussi (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Romeo Menti (Veneto), Renzo Burini (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Adolfo Baloncieri (Piedmont), Enrico Chiesa (Liguria), Roberto Pruzzo (Liguria), Alberto Gilardino (Piedmont), Angelo Schiavio (Emilia-Romagna)

Squad Explanation 
-- How can I select a team consisted of Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola, Roberto Baggio and Alessandro Del Piero? Anyone with a good knowledge of Italian football would say that this team would not work, but i cannot leave out a few of the greatest Italian footballers of all-time.
-- It is not surprising that a number of Juventus players were selected on my team. Turin is the home of the Old Lady after all.  The defense consisted many players from the 1930's.
-- Dino Zoff was the only member of the 1982 World Cup team, which I found it surprising since the backbone of the team played for Juventus, a local club.
-- Alessandro Del Piero and Filippo Inzaghi were the only members of the 2006 World Cup winning team selected.  Luca Toni made honorable mention. 
-- The goalkeepers selected were very old.  Dino Zoff is the only modern goalkeeper.  The other two goalkeepers selected are Giampiero Combi and Lorenzo Buffon.  Lorenzo Buffon played for AC Milan and is considered one of the club's greatest goalkeepers.  He is sometimes confused with Gianluigi Buffon. He edged out Francesco Toldo (Veneto), Gianluca Pagliuca (Emilia-Romagna) and Giuliano Sarti (Emilia-Romagna) for the third goalkeeping spot.
-- The centerbacks are also very old.  Armando Picchi who played in the 1960's is by far the youngest centerback.  The others played in the pre-war eras.  By contrast, Lombardy's four centerbacks are Alessandro Costacurta, Franco Barsei, Riccardo Ferri and Gaetano Scirea.
-- Fullback Luigi Allemandi also played in the 1930's. Rightback Christian Panucci (Savona) is the only younger defender selected.
-- The team consists of a few famous pairs in Italian football's history.  
-- Tarcisio Burgnich and Armando Picchi were two of the most famous defenders on that great defensive unit of La Grande Italy.
-- Umberto Caligaris and Virginio Rosetta were known for their partnership for club and country.  They were replaced (sometimes played with) another pair, Alfredo Foni and Pietro Rava.
-- Gianni Rivera and Sandro Mazzola were two great players who happened to born in the same generation.  They were rivals at the club level, one played for AC Milan and the other for Inter Milan.  For the national team, they did not normally play together.  In the 1970 World Cup Finals, mazzola usually played in the first half and Rivera came on in the second half. Both were born in Piedmont.
-- Roberto Baggio and Alessandro Del Piero were in similar situation.  The emerge of Del Piero in Juventus forced Baggio to leave for AC Milan.  Baggio's career with the Azzurri were limited because of Del Piero thereafter.  They also did not play together.  Despite being the best Italian player of his generation, Baggio only made it to the 1998 World Cup Finals in France because of an injury scare to Alessandro Del Piero. In France, he was Italy's best player, but Del Piero was the first choice over him.  He was not selected for the Euro 1996 and 2000 team.  
-- Both Del Piero and Baggio scored 27 goals each for Italy, but Baggio had 56 caps while Del Piero had 91.  Both were born in Veneto.  
-- Roberto Baggio started his career with L.R. Vicenza, not with Fiorentina.   The club is located in Veneto, where he was born. Dino Baggio was also born there, but he was not related to Roberto.  Both went to 1994 and 1998 World Cup Finals.  They were known as "Baggio" brothers.  It was probably not a nick name, but journalists simply made a mistake as both were also teammates with Juventus. Dino Baggio was selected because I needed more midfielders.
-- Filippo Inzaghi and Christian Vieri were great partners on the field and great friends off the field.  They were liked Batman and Robin.  Del Piero also played with each of them at Juventus and the Azzurri.  However, his feud with Inzaghi at Juventus led to Inzaghi's departure. Inzaghi and Vieri are born in Emilia-Romagna while Del Piero is from Veneto.  
-- Valentino Mazzola was born in Lombardy, where I have a separated all-time team for the region. Sandro Mazzola was born in Turin, Piedmont, when his father was playing with Torino.
-- Cesare Maldini was born in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.  He made  honourable mention.  His son was born in Milan, where I made a separated all-time team for Lombardy.
--  At one point, Gianluigi Lentini (Piedmont) was the most expensive player in the world.  A car accident derailed his career.

Starting Lineup
Formation 4-4-2  (Diamond)
This formation is based on the 4-4-2 used by Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti.  I admitted that this lineup is a experimental formation and I did not expect it to be effective.  Italy does not normally play Sandro Mazzola and Gianni Rivera together, but I could not leave them out. Then, I also start Roberto Baggio.  Baggio, Inzaghi and Vieri played on the 1998 World Cup team.

Formnation 4-4-2(Saachi)
The formation above was unrealistic.  Basically, I put the best players on the field without a plan.  So I created this alternative formation. Arrigo Sacchi's 4-4-2 formation was revolutionary. It was based on a high intensity pressing game and high defensive line with a flat back four and a well-organized offside trap. At the 1994 World Cup Finals, he used Roberto Baggio as the focal point of his attack.  I need a midfielder who could both defend or create.  Sandro Mazzola has better stamina, strength and defensive ability than Rivera.  So I asked him to play in the middle of the field.  He is a better fit there than Rivera or Del Piero. Then, I put Boniperti on the wing.  Del Piero is converted into a left wing.  He has played as a secondary striker.  He can be a left-sided player who has the skill sets and speed to play wide on the wings.

The flat back four should not be an issue.  Sacchi's tactics does not require wingbacks as much as other formations. I already have a good libero in Picchi.