Monday, April 07, 2008

Azzurri aces

Given that I have just posted my favourite three Viola players of all time, I thought I would follow up with my favourite three Azzurri from my era (circa 1980 to present day). Of course, I would probably have slotted two of my previous selection in here too but I will leave Roby Baggio and Giancarlo Antognoni to one side.

1) Claudio Gentile - I could have gone for the elegance and poise of Gaetano Scirea or Franco Baresi but why not go for old shirt-ripper himself. He was everything that the world despised about Italian football but he hit his peak for the 1982 World Cup. His man-marking skills put paid to Zico, Diego Maradona and Karl Heinz Rummenigge in the space of that competition. It wasn't pretty but, hell, it was effective.

2) Paolo Maldini - A no brainer, really, but he has been the most influential player in the Italian game for the last 20 years or so. As soon as he emerged as a teenager you knew you were watching something special. His driving runs from full-back were a joy to watch and his strength in defence second to none. Even now, as he approaches 40, he still shows the young boys a thing or two.

3) Andrea Pirlo - I was tempted to go for Luca Toni but if there is one Italy player I enjoy watching at present it is the Milan man. The way he runs a game from midfield is outstanding. He was a great player as an Under 21 but there was a danger he was going to lose his way. God bless Carlo Ancelotti for creating that deep midfield role for him. A model of poise, balance and grace.


Aussie Romanista said...

My favourite 3:

1. Giuseppe Giannini - Elegance and class. The last true Regista. The engine of the Italia 90 squad. Everything went through him and he controlled the tempo. He's the reason I support Roma.

2. Roberto Baggio - The greatest ever Italian player in my opinion. I cried when i saw him play for Brescia.

3. Paolo Maldini - The greatest defender ever. Enough said.

Special mention - Salvatore Schillaci. Has any player given us more joy and excitement than when he scored those 6 goals? His personality on the pitch was part of his game. I was lucky enough to thank him personally.

All four deserved to win a world cup, and should have in 1990.

Antonio Gurrado said...

Er, Roberto Baggio, Dino Zoff, Annibale Frossi.

Special mention for Schillaci too.


martinobhoy said...

Definitely Roberto Baggio and then Paolo Maldini.

I think I'd be tempted to go for Paolo Rossi as third choice purely for THAT game against Brazil in 1982.

a.c.t. said...

Have you seen the clip of Maldini's son on youtube tackling Seedord? Incredible skill and similar hair it would appear. Do we have another H&M model in our midst?

ginkers said...


I like all your picks too. Giannini was a joy to watch.


Frossi? I never knew you were that old...


That was a great moment from Pablito.


Wouldn't it be great to have the third Maldini flying high?