FIFA World Cup&x27s Greatest Ever: Top 20 Italian Players of All-Time | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

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Welcome to the twenty ninth installment of the Biggest Ever sequence!

In these articles I take a look at the best gamers to have participated in varied sports activities. Following on from the “Prime 15 French Gamers Ever” article, impressed by the FIFA World Cup, I deliver you the highest 20 Italian Gamers of all time!

See more: Best italian soccer players of all time

Italy has a staunch fame for being very strong defensively, as lots of the decisions on this record will present, and it’s a tactic that appears to have labored nicely for them. With World Cup success in 1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006, solely Brazil have received soccer’s biggest prize greater than the Azzurri.

Unsurprisingly then, it’s a nation with a plethora of superb gamers to select from.

Take pleasure in!

20. Marco Tardelli (1976-85, 76 caps, 7 targets)

The record of gamers who simply missed out on this countdown is nearly as spectacular as the ultimate line-up itself. Simply pipping the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Bruno Conti, Antonio Cabrini and Valentino Mazzola to the put up, nevertheless, is the combative midfielder Marco Tardelli.

Tardelli performed for his nation 76 occasions in 9 years, along with his biggest second coming within the 1982 World Cup remaining. After serving to the Azzurri to a 3-2 win over a formidable Brazilian group in probably the most well-known World Cup matches ever, Tardelli continued his good type within the remaining.

He scored a memorable purpose to assist Italy on their method to a 3-1 win and their third World title, however was perpetually immortalised on account of his magnificently passionate celebration, a picture that has gone down in World Cup folklore.

19. Alessandro Nesta (1996-2006, 78 caps)

A colossus of the trendy sport, Alessandro Nesta stood strong on the coronary heart of the Italian defence for a decade, one other within the lengthy line of Italy’s defensive greats. He appeared to dispossess strikers with ease and had a pure calmness and reassurance to his play.

His event expertise is spectacular too, enjoying within the European Championships of 1996, 2000, and 2004, in addition to the World Cups of 1998, 2002, and 2006.

All of his World Cups got here to a untimely finish on account of harm, however there was a cheerful ending to his worldwide profession as he picked up a World Cup winner’s medal because of Italy’s 2006 success.

18. Claudio Gentile (1975-84, 71 caps)

For a defender with such a tough fame, it’s exceptional that Claudio Gentile by no means obtained a purple card for a deal with in his profession. He was famend as a really bodily, typically even soiled, participant however he did his job to nice impact.

Few gamers in soccer historical past have been in a position to mark a participant out of a sport the way in which Gentile did. Within the 1978 World Cup, Argentina’s star participant Mario Kempes was nameless when the 2 met, and he was at it once more 4 years later in opposition to Diego Maradona.

His defensive performances in opposition to the likes of Argentina, Brazil, and West Germany have been essential in Italy profitable the ’82 World Cup.

17. Giuseppe Bergomi (1982-98, 81 caps, 6 targets)

An extended-serving, one-club man for Inter Milan, Giuseppe Bergomi was a part of one of many biggest worldwide defenses of all time.

Alongside Franco Baresi, Antonio Cabrini, Claudio Gentile and Gaetano Scirea, Bergomi flourished, profitable the 1982 World Cup in addition to taking part within the 1986 and 1990 tournaments.

After being sent-off in a qualifier for Euro ’92, Bergomi spend years within the worldwide wilderness, however was surprisingly introduced again for the 1998 World Cup to have one final swansong for the Azzurri.

Bergomi was named because the fifth finest right-back ever within the “Prime 10 Proper-Backs of All Time” record.

16. Sandro Mazzola (1963-74, 70 caps, 22 targets)

Very similar to fellow Italian legend Paolo Maldini, Sandro Mazzola had a father who might stake a declare for a spot on this record too. Sandro’s dad, Valentino Mazzola, was a superb all-round participant for the nice Torino facet of the ’40s earlier than being tragically killed within the Superga catastrophe.

Sandro Mazzola continued the household identify with delight although, serving to Italy to win the 1968 European Championships, and enjoying a significant half of their development to the 1970 World Cup remaining, the place solely Pele’s Brazilian dream group might cease them.

Mazzola was a part of fierce debate in Italy all through this World Cup because the supervisor thought he and fellow star Gianni Rivera could not play collectively. A system was created the place Mazzola performed the first-half and Rivera the second, stopping two nice gamers from totally showcasing their skills.

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15. Francesco Totti (1998-2006, 58 caps, 9 targets)

The Golden Boy of Italian soccer is a uncommon instance of unflinching loyalty in at the moment’s sport. Spending his entire profession at a Roma facet struggling for trophies has earned him God-like standing within the capital, and that love quickly unfold to the entire nation because of his performances within the blue of Italy.

In 2000 he helped Italy to the European Championship remaining, solely to be crushed by a Zinedine Zidane impressed French group. The 2 locked horns once more within the 2006 World Cup remaining, however it was Totti smiling on the finish of that match as he collected a winners medal on his method to being named within the event’s All-Star group.

His tally of 5 Italian Participant of the 12 months awards stays unequalled, and he’s at the moment the sixth highest scorer in Serie A historical past.

14. Fabio Cannavaro (1997-2010, 136 caps, 2 targets)

Essentially the most capped Italian footballer of all time, Fabio Cannavaro has been a staple of the Azzurri defence for over a decade, and remains to be going robust, captaining Italy on the 2010 World Cup.

This summer time’s event is his fourth World Cup, having beforehand appeared in 1998, 2002, and 2006, famously lifting the trophy on the latter event. He has additionally appeared in two European Championships, serving to Italy to second place in 2000 and likewise enjoying in 2004.

Cannavaro was rewarded for his good shows in 2006 by selecting up the FIFA World Participant of the 12 months award, the one defender in historical past to realize such a feat.

He was named because the eighth finest centre-back ever within the “Prime 10 Central Defenders of All Time” record.

13. Alessandro Del Piero (1995-2008, 91 caps, 27 targets)

Very similar to Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero is a golden boy of Italian soccer, and he’s as celebrated in Turin as Totti is in Rome. With 27 targets in 91 caps, a tally that places him fourth within the all-time goalscorers record, it’s straightforward to see why he’s so adored.

Del Piero has featured in seven main worldwide tournaments, together with the European Championships of 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008, and the World Cups in 1998, 2002, and 2006.

The 2006 marketing campaign was notably memorable for Del Piero, as he secured a passage into the ultimate with Italy’s second purpose within the 2-0 semi-final win over Germany. Italy went on to win the event and be topped World Champions for the fourth time.

12. Silvio Piola (1935-52, 34 caps, 30 targets)

Simply forward of Del Piero within the all-time Italian goalscoring lists is Silvio Piola, who scored his 30 targets in simply 34 caps, showcasing his prolific ending, and the way in which he scored a lot of these targets gave us a glimpse of his inventiveness.

For instance, Piola is taken into account the primary to have scored, and even tried, a bicycle kick. It was this willingness to attain at any price that enabled him to web 274 occasions in Serie A, a file that stands to at the present time.

His worldwide profession might have been even larger had it not been interrupted by World Struggle II, however with the a 1938 World Cup winner’s medal in his trophy room, I am positive you will not hear too many complaints about what he achieved.

11. Gianluigi Buffon (1997-Current, 143 caps)

Few goalkeepers in trendy occasions have been in a position to come near Gianluigi Buffon, and the truth that he misses out on the highest ten on this record speaks volumes of the gamers above him.

Having gained event expertise as a reserve within the 1998 World Cup, Buffon suffered heartbreak when a damaged hand dominated him out of Euro 2000, a event Italy went on to complete runners-up in.

He made up for this in 2006 although, placing in some spectacular performances that led to the Azzurri profitable the trophy and Buffon ending second within the FIFA World Participant of the 12 months ballot.

Buffon has additionally received the World Goalkeeper of the 12 months award a file 4 occasions, and was named the eighth finest keeper ever within the “Prime 10 Goalkeepers of All Time” record.

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10. Luigi Riva (1965-74, 42 caps, 35 targets)

Had Luigi Riva’s profession not been so blighted by harm, he would have absolutely added to his phenomenal strike-rate of 35 worldwide targets in simply 42 video games. Regardless of, amongst different issues, two damaged legs throughout his enjoying days, nevertheless, Riva remains to be Italy’s highest ever goalscorer.

He helped the Azzurri to success within the 1968 European Championships, and two years later scored a vital purpose in opposition to Franz Beckenbauer’s West Germany to ship Italy by to the World Cup remaining, the place solely Pele’s Brazil have been in a position to cease them.

His unflinching loyalty to membership facet Cagliari was acknowledged in 2005 when he grew to become the one participant of their historical past to have his shirt quantity retired, having scored 169 targets in 337 video games for the Sardinian membership.

9. Gaetano Scirea (1974-86, 78 caps, 2 targets)

The catenaccio system is one closely related to Italian soccer, and in Gaetano Scirea, the Azzurri had the proper architect of it. A defender with large ability, poise and, after all, means, Scirea was a significant a part of Italy’s facet for over a decade.

Throughout this time, Scirea represented the Azzurri at three World Cups, in addition to the 1980 European Championships. By far his stand-out second of those tournaments was Italy’s success in 1982, thanks in no small half to Scirea’s performances in opposition to the likes of Brazil and West Germany.

For a lot of his profession, Scirea excelled within the sweeper position made well-known by Franz Beckenbauer, and is arguably the best exponent of this place since “Der Kaiser.”

Scirea was named the seventh finest centre-back ever within the “Prime 10 Central Defenders of All Time” record.

8. Gianni Rivera (1962-74, 60 caps, 14 targets)

In latest occasions, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero could have been in a position to lay declare the the tag of the “Golden Boy” of Italian soccer, however all through the Nineteen Sixties and early ’70s, it was Gianni Rivera who owned that moniker.

Rivera represented Italy at 4 World Cups, together with an look within the remaining in 1970, and likewise helped them to victory on the 1968 European Championships. He performed for AC Milan for 19 years, having signed for the membership aged simply 16 for £200,000 in 1960, an enormous determine for somebody so younger.

Rivera went on to win the distinguished Ballon d’Or award in 1969, having completed as a runner-up to Lev Yashin for a similar award in 1963.

7. Paolo Rossi (1977-86, 48 caps, 20 targets)

Few gamers have ever sparked such contrasting feelings as Paolo Rossi. His alleged half within the notorious Totonero betting scandal introduced nationwide shame upon the striker, in addition to a two-year ban from soccer.

His return on the 1982 World Cup, nevertheless, turned that shame into delight as he bounced again to win the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot, serving to Italy to their third World Cup title within the course of. His six purpose tally included a hat-trick in opposition to an amazing Brazil facet in among the best World Cup matches ever, two targets within the semi-final, and one other within the remaining.

1982 was Rossi’s yr. After dominating the latter phases of the World Cup, he was awarded the Ballon d’Or and named World Participant of the 12 months, solidifying his place in soccer historical past.

6. Giacinto Facchetti (1963-77, 94 caps, 3 targets)

Extensively thought-about one of many first nice attacking full-backs, Giacinto Facchetti performed a vital position within the growth of the place. He additionally performed a vital position for Italy and Inter Milan for a decade-and-a-half.

His tally of 94 caps, 70 of which got here as captain, was a file on the time of his retirement, and spanned three World Cups and Italy’s victorious European Championships marketing campaign in 1968.

He led the Azzurri to the 1970 World Cup remaining the place they got here up in opposition to an unstoppable Brazil facet together with the likes of Pele and Jairzinho and, at membership stage, was thought-about such an icon for Inter Milan that they retired his shirt quantity following his demise.

Facchetti was ranked fourth within the “Prime Ten Left-Backs of All Time” record.

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5. Dino Zoff (1968-83, 112 caps)

Named the third biggest goalkeeper of the twentieth century, Dino Zoff stays the oldest participant to have ever received the World Cup, doing so in 1982, aged 40.

Rewind 14 years to 1968 and Zoff was selecting up a winner’s medal on the European Championships after simply 4 caps for the Azzurri. He holds the file for the longest time with out conceding a global purpose (1142 minutes), an outstanding feat ended by essentially the most unlikely supply—Haiti participant Manno Sanon.

In 2003, the Italian Soccer Federation named him the best Italian participant of the previous 50 years, and extra lately he was ranked fifth within the “Prime 10 Goalkeepers of All Time” record.

4. Franco Baresi (1982-94, 82 caps, 1 purpose)

Amazingly, for a participant so revered in Italian soccer at the moment, Franco Baresi’s World Cup debut did not arrive till 1990, largely because of the presence of Gaetano Scirea in Baresi’s most popular place.

Baresi was a part of the victorious 1982 squad, though he did not play within the event, in addition to the squads of 1990 and 1994, the latter of which reached the ultimate, solely to be crushed by Brazil on penalties.

With 628 appearances for Milan over a 20-year profession on the membership, Baresi has had much more success domestically than he has internationally. His place as a Milan legend was confirmed after they retired his shirt quantity.

Baresi was ranked third within the “Prime 10 Central Defenders of All Time” record.

3. Roberto Baggio (1988-2004, 56 caps, 27 targets)

Roberto Baggio, aka the “Divine Ponytail,” is a participant often known as a lot for a penalty miss as he’s for his immense high quality. That penalty miss was a major one although, because it misplaced the 1994 World Cup remaining for Italy.

It places a stain on an in any other case magnificent profession, by which he scored over 300 profession targets at membership stage, the primary Italian to take action in over 50 years, 27 targets at worldwide stage, the fourth highest tally in Italian soccer historical past, and received the Ballon d’Or and World Footballer of the 12 months awards in 1993.

Baggio can be the one Italian to have scored at three World Cups (1990, ’94 & ’98) and has been included in Italy’s, Juventus’, and Brescia’s All-Time XI groups.

2. Paolo Maldini (1988-2002, 126 caps, 7 targets)

The phrase “legend” barely appears to cowl Paolo Maldini. For 25 years he was a stalwart at Milan, and for 14 years he carried that type to worldwide stage. His tally of 126 caps was a file when he retired, and his tally of 74 as captain stays a file to at the present time.

Maldini featured in 4 World Cups (1990, ’94, ’98 and 2002), in addition to three European Championships (1988, ’96 and 2000), the latter of which he led Italy to the ultimate in, solely to be crushed by Zinedine Zidane’s France.

He has made extra appearances in Serie A, the Champions League and for Milan than every other participant in historical past, and has additionally had his quantity three shirt retired by the membership he spent his complete profession with.

Maldini was ranked as the most effective left-back ever within the “Prime 10 Left-Backs of All Time” record.

1. Giuseppe Meazza (1930-39, 53 caps, 33 targets)

For a rustic so well-known for his or her defensive soccer, some could also be shocked that their biggest ever participant is definitely an attacking participant, however Giuseppe Meazza is greater than deserving of the accolade.

Such was his impact on Italian soccer, and particularly Inter Milan, that the stadium shared by Inter and AC Milan, higher often known as the San Siro, is formally known as the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Many in Italy have even in contrast him to Pele.

Meazza was the important thing member of Italy’s 1934 and 1938 World Cup profitable groups, turning into a member of a really unique membership having received soccer’s biggest prize twice. His tally of 33 worldwide targets is the second highest in Italian soccer historical past.

Giuseppe Meazza – the best Italian participant of all time!

To see different installments from the Biggest Ever sequence, click on right here .

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