Friday, January 30, 2015

Lombardy Greatest All-Time Team

Lombardy is the most populous and richest region in Italy.  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.

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.

GK: Walter Zenga
Zenga was considered one of Italy's greatest keepers.   He played 58 times for Italy, notably at the 1990 WC 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
Castellini earned a single cap.  He went to 1974 WC Finals as a backup.  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
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 WC Finals. He was capped 81 times between 1982 and 1998.

RB/LB: Gianluca Zambrotta 
He was one of the best fullbacks in his prime.  He could play both rightback and leftback. He was a member of the 2006 WC winning team.  He was selected to the team of the tournament.  He played mainly with Juventus. 

CB: Pietro Vierchowood
He was described by Diego Maradona as the toughest opponent he had played against. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Italian centre-backs of all-time, and one of the best of his generation. ,Nicknamed lo Zar ("the Tsar"), he was the son of a Ukrainian Red Army soldier. He played for Como, Fiorentina, Roma, Sampdoria and Juventus, where he won his only UEFA Champions League in 1996.  Vierchowod played 562 Serie A matches, and is the seventh-highest appearance holder of all time in Serie A.  He went to three World Cup Finals.

SW: Franco Baresi
Baresi was considered Italy's greatest libero.  He was capped 82 times.  He led the Azzurri to the semifinal of the WC in 1990 and then, the Final in 1994.  However, he missed most of the tournament in 1994.  He was the captain of AC Milan for 15 years, where he won three European Cups and 6 Serie A titles, a team considered to be the greatest ever.
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. 

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 of injuries.

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

CB/LB: Renzo De Vecchi
He made his Milan debut as a 15 years old.  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 three 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.  He also represented Italy at the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympic Games.  In total, he made 43 appearances for Italy between 1910 and 1925. 

CB/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 the Azzurri, Maldini took part in three European Championships, and four World Cups. Although he did not win a tournament with the Italian National team, he reached the finals of the 1994 World Cup in the US and Euro 2000, and the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy and Euro 1988 in West Germany, and was elected into the all-star teams for each of these tournaments, in addition to the Euro 96 all-star team.  He was capped 126 times for Italy.  
Paolo Maldini
LB: Giacinto Facchetti
Until the emerge of Paolo Maldini, 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 and also won the Euro 1968 with Italy. He played in 1966, 1970 and 1974 World Cup Finals.
Giacinto Facchetti

LB: Antonio Cabrini
He was one of the best leftbacks in the world during his time.  He was remembered for being a part of the great defensive unit at Spain 1982.  He spent the best part of his career with Juventus, winning the European Cup in 1985,

DM: Gabriele Oriali
He was the starting defensive midfielder at the 1982 WC Finals in Spain.  For Italy, he had 28 caps between 1978 and 1983. 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 
Pirlo started as an attack midfielder with Inter Milan without success before becoming a regista.  He redefined the regista role in recent years.  He won the WC 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. 
Andrea Pirlo
CM: Demetrio Albertini
He was the deep-lying playmaker of the great 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 at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, Euro 96, and Euro 2000.

AM: Valentino Mazzola
He was the all-time leading scorer for the Italy.  At international level, Riva won the 1968 UEFA European Championship and was runner-up at the 1970 FIFA World Cup with the Italian national team; he also took part at the 1974 FIFA 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 1969-1970.

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.
Roberto Donadoni
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 was unimpressive and lost his starting spot to  Roberto Baggio and Salvatore Schillaci.  After the WC Finals, he had a feud with manager Sacchi that forced him out of the national team.

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

ST:  Silvio Piola
He was 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 FIFA World Cup with Italy, scoring two goals in the final, ending the tournament as the second best player and the second highest scorer.

ST: Luigi Riva
With 35 goals in 42 appearances (in all official competitions) between 1965 and 1974 , he was the all-time leading scorer for the Italy.  At international level, Riva won the 1968 UEFA European Championship and was runner-up at the 1970 FIFA World Cup with the Italian national team; he also took part at the 1974 FIFA World Cup. 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 1969-1970. 
Luigi Riva

Honorable Mention
Marco Delvecchio, Pierluigi Casiraghi, Giuseppe Signori and Riccardo Montolivo.

Squad Explanation
  • Lombardy is the home of three of the greatest leftbacks in football's history.  I decided to take all three of them. 
  • 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.

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