Sunday, February 22, 2015

North Rhine-Westphalia all-team 23-member team


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

North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state in Germany.  It is the home of many current and former Bundesliga clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, FC Köln, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Schalke 04, MSV Duisburg, VfL Bochum, Arminia Bielefeld, etc.

Team
GK: Toni Schumacher 
He was the keeper for the German national team throughout the 1980's, winning the European Championship in 1980.  He led West Germany to the Final at both Spain 1982 and Mexico 1982.  He was remembered for an iugly incident against Patrick Battiston during the semifinal of Spain 1982.  His club career was associated with Koln.
    
H established Germany's number 1 before the WC Finals in 2010.  He helped Germany winning their 4th WC in 2014. He started with Schalke 04, but moved to rival Bayern Munich in 2010. He is the second most expensive keeper of all-time.
  
He was the starting keeper for West Germany at WC in 1954.  His longest club stint was with Fortuna Düsseldorf.

RB: Berti Vogts
Nicknamed “Der Terrier”.  He won 5 Bundesliga titles with the great Borussia Mönchengladbach of the 1970's.  He famously marked Johan Cruyff out of the WC Final in 1974. He also won a European Champions in 1972.

RB: Paul Janes
He was a member of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8:0 in Breslau in 1937. His longest club stint was with Fortuna Düsseldorf.   He went to two WC Finals in 1934 and 1938.
CB: Willi Schulz
He was one of the best center-backs in the world during the 1960's.  He started as the sweeper in the 1966 WC Finals.  He went to Mexico 1970, but was injured.  He played for Hamburger and Schalke 04.

CB/LB: Karl-Heinz Schnellinger
In his prime, he was considered one of the best leftbacks in the world.  He participated in 4 World Cup Finals, unfortunaitely sandwiched between West Germany's two WC winning tournaments.  He was remembered one of the first German to star in Italy.  He had a remarkable stint with AC Milan and As Roma.  He won the European Cup in 1969.
  
SW: Bernard Dietz
Dietz was the captain of the national team that win Euro 1980.  He also went to Euro 1976 and Argentina 1978. He played for Duisburg and Schalke 04.
  
CB: Mats Hummels
He came through the Bayern Munich youth system, but only made one appearance.  He signed with Borussia Dortmund in 2009 after a loan spell. He was a part of the 2014 WC winning team, where he was voted into the team of tournament.

LB: Horst-Dieter Hottges
He started his entire career with Borussia Mönchengladbach, but found successes with Werder Bremen.  He went to England 1966, Euro 1972 and West Germany 1974.  He lost his starting position after West Germany lost to East Germany at the WC in 1974.

LB:  Erich Juskowiak
He made his national team debut in 1951, but did not go to Swizterland 1954. He was the starting leftback for the West German national team at Sweden 1958.  He became the first German player to be sent off in a WC Finals match over there.

CM: Gunther Netzer
The star of the great Borussia Mönchengladbach of the 1970's.  He won the European Championship in 1972 and then, the WC in 1974.  His best performance, however, was in 1972, where he was the star at the quarterfinal against England.  He later joined Real Madrid and outperformed Johan Cruyff's Barcelona in the early 1970's.
Gunter Netzer
 CM: Horst Szymaniak 
He was one of West Germany's greatest midfielders.  He went to the WC Finals in 1959 and 1962.  He played for SpVgg Erkenschwick, Wuppertaler SV, Karlsruher SC, Calcio Catania, F.C. Internazionale Milano, A.S. Varese 1910, and Tasmania 1900 Berlin. He joined Inter Milan in 1962 at a time when Serie A clubs seldom signed German players.

DM/RB: Rainer Bonhof
He was the youngest member of the WC winning team in 1974.  He assisted in Gerd Muller's winning goal at the Final.  He also played at Argentina 1978 and a part of Euro 1980 winning team.  He played with Borussia Mönchengladbach.  He joined Valencia in 1978, which prompted the DFB to remove their ban on selecting foreign based players for the national team. He was known for his powerful shot.  He was born near the German border with Netherlands.  He is of Dutch ancestry.
CM: Fritz Szepan
Szepan is one of Germany's greatest midfielder.  He played in 1934 and 1938 WC Finals.  He played his entire career with Schalke 04.  He was voted as the club's greatest ever player.
  
LM/CM: Wolfgang Overath
One of the best left midfielder in history,  He won the 1974  WC, where he kept Netzer from the starting lineup. In total he won 81 caps for the national side between 1963 and 1974, scoring 17 goals.  He spent all of his career with Koln.

 AM: Mesut Özil
A third generation German of Turkish decent.  He played for Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen before making a dream move to Real Madrid after South Africa 2010.  He moved to Arsenal in 2013.  He was a part of Germany's World Cup winning team in 2014.

Özil
RW:  Helmut Rahn
Rahn was a star of the 1954 WC team.  He scored the winning goal at the final vs Hungary. He is considered one of the best ever German winger.  He played with Rot-Weiss Essen.

LW:  Hans Schafer  
The left wing on the 1954 WC winning team. He played in three World Cup Finals.  He was German Player of the Year in 1963. 
He spent all of his career with Koln.

FW: Klaus Allofs
He made his name with Fortuna Düsseldorf, where he was the Bundesliga top-scorer in 1978-1979, winning two German Cup with them.  He later joined Koln, Olympique de Marseille, Bordeaux and Werder Bremen.  He was the top scorer at Euro 1980, where West Germany was the champion.  He played at Euro 1984 and Mexico 1986.

ST/LW:  Jupp Heynckes
He was the third highest goal scorer in Bundesliga's history.  He spent most of his career with Borussia Mönchengladbach and was part of their glorious team in the early 1970's. He won Euro 1972 and the WC in 1974.  He played the first two matches at West Germany 1974, but suffered an injury and missed the rest of the tournament.

FW: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
He was one of the best players in the world during the 1980's.  He was the European Player of the Year in 1980 and 1981.  He won the European Championship in 1980 and was part of the squad that finished runner-up at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain and at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He was a young star in Argentina 1978.  He spent the best parts of his club career with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

Rummenigge
ST: Horst Hrubesch
He was a part of West German national team player pool throughout the 1980's.  He was known as one of the most powerful header of the ball in the game.  He was known for his partnership with Manfield Kaltz who was one of the best crossers in the game.  Together, they won the European Cup in 1983 with Hamburger.

Honorable Mention
Jens Lehmann, Thomas Helme, Torsten Frings, Reinhold Münzenberg, Ernst Kuzorra.

Squad Explanation 
Jens Lehmann deserved to be on this team, but two of the keepers have won a WC for Germany while Schumacher was among the greatest ever German keepers.

Starting lineup
Formation: 4-4-2
  • Several defenders are possible starters.  Paul Janes and Mats Hummels could have started.
  • West Germany did not start Overath and Netzer on the field together, but I would try it here. 
  • I have better attackers than Horst Hrubesch, but he is an out and out striker.  He probably would form a better partnership with Rummenigge.
  • Schafer could replace Overath.  He is a better winger and might fit Hrubesch.



Formation II: 4-3-3
  • The team has depth. I can be flexible in its formation.  Hrubesch is the target man with Schafer and Rummenigge on each side of the flank. 



 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bavaria all-team 23-member team



Bavaria is the home of  FC Bayern Munich, 1. FC Nuremberg, FC Augsburg and TSV 1860 München.  If there were an All-Time World Cup, Bavaria 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. 

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

GK: Sepp Maier
"The cat from Anzing" won the European Championship in 1972 and the WC at home in 1974. He also won three straight European Cups for Bayern Munich.  He was one of the best keepers in the 1970's.

GK: Hans Jakob 
He was the goalkeeper for Germany at World Cup 1934 and 1938.

GK: Raimond Aumann
He started his career was a backup to  Jean-Marie Pfaff at bayern Munich.  He went to Italia 1990.

RB:  Stefan Reuter
He played 68 times between 1987 and 1998.  He was the 1990's generation that won the WC in 1990 and the European Championship in 1996.  He played with Bayern Munich, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund. He won the Champions' League in 1996 with Borussia Dortmund.

RB/CB:  Markus Babbel
He was a part of the Euro 1996 team.  He played for Bayern Munich, Hamburger SV, Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers.

SW/CM: Franz Beckenbauer
He was one of the best ever player in history.  Known as Der Kaiser, he was credited with revolutionizing the sweeper position.  Twice selected European Footballer of the Year, Beckenbauer appeared 103 times for West Germany and played in three FIFA World Cups, winning the WC in 1974 and the European Championship in 1972.  He won three straight European Cup with Bayern Munich in 1974, 1975 and 1976.



CB: Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck
He was the center-back for both West Germany and Bayern Munich during the 1970's.  He won the European Championship in 1972 and the WC in 1974.  For Bayern Munich, he won the European Cup 3 times.
He played his entire career with with FC Bayern Munich. He won seven Bundesliga titles.   He was voted as one of greatest players in Bayern Munich's history.  He was the starting sweeper for West Germany at Italia 1990.

RB/LB/DM: Philipp Lahm
The captain of the 2014 WC winning team.  He also won the treble in 2013 when Bayern Munich won the Champions' League, the German Cup and the Bundesliga.  He earned 113 caps for Germany at the end of the WC Finals in 2014 where he retired from the national team. 

LB/CM: Paul Breitner 
He was the first player to score a goal at two different WC Final match.  He won the European Championship in 1972 and then, a the World Cup in 1974. He spent most of his career with Bayern Muinch and went to play for Real Madrid in Spain.

DM/CB: Ludwig Goldbrunner
He went to the WC in 1938.  He spent his entire career with Bayern Munich, winning the German title in 1932.  He was considered to be one of Bayern's greatest players. 
Throughout his career, he has played for Bayern Munich, Newcastle United, Liverpool, and Manchester City.  He played for Germany between 1997 and 2005, and went to all major tournaments during the span.
   
Haller was one of the best midfielders in the world in the 1960's.  In 1966, he helped West Germany to reach the WC Final in 1966, forming one of the best midfield of the tournament.  He also went to Chile in 1962 and Mexico in 1970.  He started with Augsburg.  He was also known for his stints in Italy, playing for Bologna and Juventus.

CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger
He was an important player for both club and country.  He went to three European Championships and as many World Cups, including their victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Schweinsteiger is the youth product of Bayern Munich.  He won the 2013 Champions' league title with Bayern Munich. 


He moved to Aston Villa as a youth player.  He started his career in England with them.  Later, he played for Stuttgart, Lazio, West Ham, Wolfsburg and Everton.  He went to the WC in 2006 and Euro 2008.
He played for Germany in the 1934 World Cup and the 1938 World Cup. In total, he made 65 appearances and scored 31 goals for the national team. Lehner was a member of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8–0 in Breslau in 1937  

Schuster was the star of the Euro 1980 winning team, but disagreed with the German Football Association and seldom played for West Germany after the tournament.  He was a star at La Liga in the 1980's, playing for Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. He later played for Bayer Leverkusen.

CM: Lothar Matthaus
Captaining the West German team in winning the WC in 1990.  He was the European Player of the Year and the first ever World Player of the year in 1990. He played in five FIFA World Cups (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998), a record for an outfield player, and holds the record for the most World Cup matches played by a single player (25 games). He also won the Euro 1980 in Italy, and played in the 1984, 1988, and 2000 European Championships.
Lothar Matthaus
AM: Felix Magath
He was the son of an American GI and a German woman.  He played for Hamburger between 1976 and 1986, winning the European Cup in 1983. He was a part of the great West German national team of the 1980's, playing in Euro 1980, Spain 1982 and Mexico 1986.

FW: Mario Gotze
He scored the winning goal at the Final of Brazil 2014.  He started his career with Borussia Dortmund, where he played under Jurgen Klopp.  In 2013, he moved to Bayern Munich and became the most expensive German ever.

FW: Thomas Muller
He made his professional debut the season before South Africa 2010 with Bayern Munich.   In South Africa, he won the Golden Boot as the top scorer.  Between the two WC Finals, Bayern Munich won one Champions' league and went to the Final two other times.  At Brazil 2014, he won Silver Boot by scoring 5 goals.

 
ST: Gerd Muller
"Der Bomber" was widely considered to be the best striker in history. He scored 68 goals in 62 matches for Germany.  He scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga appearance, mostly with Bayern Muinch.  He won the WC in 1974 and the European Championship in 1972.  He won three straight European Cup with Bayern Munich in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He was the European Player of the Year in 1970.
Gerd Muller
ST: Karl-Heinz Riedle
Riedle was a key member of the West German national team in the 1990's.  He won the WC in 1990, and went to Euro 1992 and USA 1994.  He was known as the backup strikers to Jurgen Klinsmann and Rudi Voller.  His club career was best remembered playing for Lazio and Borussia Dortmund.  He won the Champions' League in 1997 with Borussia Dortmund. 

Honorable Mention
CB: Holger Badstuber, LB/CB: Hans Pflügler and DM: Lars Bender.

Starting lineup 
The team has too many central midfielders.  I have to sit Haller and Schuster.

 

 

 


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Italian diaspora All-time 23 member team

Italy saw a large-scale migration of its people away from Italy in the period Between the unification of Italy in 1861 and the rise of Italian Fascism during the 1920s, as well as one last wave can be observed after the end of World War II.  Today, Italian diaspora is one of largest in the world.  Some of the greatest footballers are overseas Italians. There are 20 World Cup Finals at the time of writing.  Five of them were lifted by captains who are of Italian descent (1930, 1958, 1978, 1986 and 1994).   Italy won four more (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006).

This is my All-time 23 Italian Diaspora team.  I have excluded all Oriundo players because those players have been capped by Italy and the Italian national team did not "lose" them.

Please also look at my all-time Italy team here and my All-Time Team Index.


GK: Peter Bonetti (England)
Nicknamed as "the Cat", Bonetti was a legend at Chelsea. His finest moment came in the Final of the FA Cup in 1970 where his heroic play helped Chelsea to win the FA Cup. He was the FWA Player of the Year runner-up that year.  However, he only earned 7 caps for England.  his career was limited by playing with Gordon Banks at the same time.  He was Banks' backup in the World Cup 1966.
  
GK: Rogerio Ceni (Brazil)
Roger Ceni is known as the goalkeeper who scored a lot of goals.  He is recognized as the highest scorer in history for a keeper.  He is a long-term keeper for Sao Paulo.  He went to two WC Finals as a backup.

GK Roque Maspoli
Maspoli began playing in the youth ranks of Club Nacional de Football. He would make his Uruguayan Primera División debut with Liverpool de Montevideo in 1939. After one season with Liverpool, he joined C.A. Peñarol. He would spend the rest of his playing career with Peñarol, winning six Primera titles with the club.He was Uruguay's keeper at the World Cup in 1950, where they won it by breaking the hearts of the Brazilians.
  
RB:  Javier Zanetti (Argentina)
He was the starting rightback for Inter Milan for almost 20 years.  He served as their captain from 1999, earning him the nickname "Il Capitano" (The Captain).  He held all kind of appearance records in Italy.  He widely considered to be Argentina's best ever rightback.  He holds the record of the most capped player in the history of the Argentine national team and played in the 1996 Olympic tournament, five Copa América tournaments and two World Cups, in 1998 and 2002.


RB: Severino Minelli (Switzerland)
He was considered one of the best rightbacks in history.  He was capped 80 times for Switzerland.  He played in the 1934 and 1938 WC Finals.

RB/CB: Jose Nasazzi (Uruguay)
He was the captain of Uruguay's legendary team that won the World Cup in 1930.   He is regarded by many as Uruguay's greatest ever football player. He was known as "El Gran Mariscal" (The Great Marshal) and had already won the gold medal at the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games, as well as the South American Championship in 1923, 1924 and 1926, by the time of the first World Cup.

CB: Daniel Passarella (Argentina)
Daniel Passarella was one of the best center-backs ever played the game.  He captured Argentina when it won the World Cup in 1978. He was also known for scoring over 140 goals in his career, very high for a defender. His career was associated with River Plate.



CB: Roberto Perfumo (Argentina)
He was a legend with Racing Club in Argentina winning the Primera title, the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup.  He played in 1966 and 1974 WC Finals.

CB: Oscar Ruggeri (Argentina)
Oscar Ruggeri played in 3 World Cup Finals, winning the one in 1986 and finishing second in 1990. He was La Liga Foreign Player of the Year in 1989 and South American Player of the Year in 1991. He played for both River Plate and Boca Juniors as well as Real Madrid in Spain.


LB: Silvio Marzolini (Argentina)
A idol with Boca Juniors.  He was considered one of the greatest leftbacks in Latin American football history.  He went to the 1966 WC Finals in England.

LB:  Alberto Tarantini (Argentina)
He was the starting leftback for Argentina in 1978 and 1982.  He was infamously known for his career in England where he only lasted 28 matches. He played for both River Plate and Boca Juniors.

DM: Nestor Rossi (Argentina)
One of Argentina's greatest defensive midfielders.  He won 5 Argentinian league titles with River Plate and 6 more with Millonarios in Colombia. He played in the 1958 World Cup Finals.


DM: Dunga (Brazil)
Dunga's bluecollar and defensive style of football symbolized a new era in Brazil's football.  He played 91 times for Brazil.  He was the captain of Brazil's WC winning team in 1994. He also went to Italia 1990 and France 1998.  He played in Brazil, Japan, Italy and Germany in his career.



CM: Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina)

DM: Diego Simeone (Argentina)
Simeone started his career with Velez Sarsfield before moving to Europe. He first joined Pisa and Sevilla before going to Atletico Madrid.  He won the Double with them in 1995-1996.  He then moved to Inter Milan, where he won the UEFA Cup in 1998.  In 1999, he moved to Lazio.  Again, he won the Double.  He returned to Atletico Madrid in 2003 and played for Racing Club before his retirement.  For Argentina, he was capped 106 times. He won Copa America in 1991 and 1993.  He went to play in three WC Finals; 1994, 1998 and 2002.  In 1998, he had the famous incident with David Beckham.

CM/AM/FW:  Alfredo Di Stefano (Argentina)
The best player in the world before the emerge of Pele and Maradona. He won 5 straight European Cups with Real Madrid. He was credited in turning Real Madrid into a legendary club. He was one of the younger member of the great River Plate in the 1940's.

AM: Enzo Scifo (Belgium)  
Born in Belgium of Italian background.  he made his name with Anderlecht.  He also played in both France and Italy.  He appeared for Belgium in the World Cups of 1986, 1990, 1994, and 1998, playing sixteen games.  He was a star at the WC Finals in 1986 and 1990, where he scored one of the best goals of the tournament in 1990. 

LW/M: Rivelino (Brazil)
He is considered to be one of the greatest left-sided midfielder ever.  He won a WC in 1970 and played in the 1974 team.  He had 92 caps for Brazil.  He was known for his master of the "flip flap" move. 

RW/FW: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
At time of writing, he won 4 World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or.  Despite his Tax evasion case and feud with his charities, he is considered a clean-cut player.

AM: Michel Platini (France)
Michel Platini is one of the greatest footballers of all time.  He scored 9 of France's 14 goals as they won Euro 1984 at home.  It was probably the greatest individual performance in a tournament.  He won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1983, 1984 and 1985.  With Juventus, he won the European Cup in 1985, the first ever for the club.


AM:  Enzo Francescoli (Uruguay)
Known as "the Prince", he was Uruguay's most capped outfield player.  He was a big fan favorite in River Plate where he won Copa Libertadores in 1996.  He also played in France and Italy. With Uruguay, he won three Copa America's in 1983, 1987 and 1995, where he was voted the best player in two of the tournaments.  He was also South America Player of the Year in 1984 and 1995.

 
AM: Diego Maradona (Argentina)
He was considered the second best player in history after Pele.  He won the World Cup in 1986, scoring the best goal in the history of the World Cup when he scored against England.  For club football, he was best remembered for leading Napoli to break the dominance of the Northern Italian clubs in the Serie A.  



ST:  Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina)
He is the current top-scorer for Argentina.  He first gained international recognition when Argentina won the Copa America in 1991 where he finished as the top scorer. He earned a move to Fiorentina spending the next 9 seasons there while becoming their all-time leading scorer.  In 2000, he moved to Roma and won the scudetto in his first season. He went to the WC Finals in 1994, 1998 and 2002.



Honorable Mention 
Paul Caligiuri (USA), Tony Meola (USA), Miguel Brindisi (Argentima), Nestor Sensini (Argentina), Ciriaco Sforza (Switzerland) and Tony Cascarino (Ireland), Hilderaldo Bellini (Brazil)

Squad Explanation
I have excluded all Oriundo players because those players have been capped by Italy and the Italian national team did not "lose" them. Omar Sivori, Luis Monti, etc did not make the squad.

Formation 


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Southern Italy

Southern Italy consists of the administrative regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise, Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia. The big clubs in the area are Napoli, Cagliari, Palermo, Bari, Messina, Lecce and Catania.  Italian football is dominated by the Northern clubs, but Diego Maradona led Napoli to break monopoly in the 1980's.
   
Please also look at my all-time Italy team here and my All-Time World Cup Team Index.


Team
GK: Morgan Da Sanctis (Abruzzo)
Da Sanctis is brilliant keeper, but his international opportunities limited by Gianluigi Buffon. He was, however, included in squads for Euro 2008, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012.  From 1999 to 2007, he played for Udinese.  Then, he had another long career with Napoli.  

GK: Salvatore Sirigu (Nuoro, Sardinia)
He was widely considered the future of Italy's goalkeeper position.  At the time of writing, he plays paris St. Germaine.
  
GK: Franco Tancredi (Abruzzo)
He was long-time keeper for Roma.  He played for them between 1977 and 1990. He went to the WC Finals in 1986.

RB: Massimo Oddo (Abruzzo)
He was a product of AC milan academy, but he made his name with Lazio, where he played from 2002 and 2007.  He eventually returned to Milan in 2007. He also played for Napoli, Bayern Munich and Verona.

CB: Fabio Cannavaro (Campania)
He was the captain and perhaps, the best player of the 2006 World Cup winning team.  He was one of the few defensive players to have won the Ballon Dd'or.  He played for many clubs in his career, but his best years were with Parma, Juventus and Real Madrid.

Fabio Cannavaro

LB/CB: Felice Gasperi(Abruzzo)
He played for Italy during the 1920's, winning a Bronze medal at the 1928 Olympics.

SW: Ciro Ferrara (Campania)
He was considered one of the best defenders in the world during his prime.  However, his career with the Azzurri was limited by the same period with  Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Mauro Tassotti, Pietro Vierchowod, Riccardo Ferri, Giuseppe Bergomi, Gianluca Pessotto, Paolo Maldini, and in latter years, stars like Fabio Cannavaro, and Alessandro Nesta.  For club football, he played nearly a decade for Napoli during Duego Maradona's years before moving to Juvnetus.  At Juventus, he won 6 scudettis and a single Champions' League.

CB:  Marco Materazzi (Apulia)
He was highly controversial defender in his prime.  He was remembered for the headbutt incident with Zidane at the WC Finals in 2006.  His best club football was played with Inter Milan.  He won 6 straight scudettis with them and a single Champions' League.

LB: Giuseppe Pancaro(Calabria)
He was a part of Lazio's Serie A winning team in 2000. He also played for Milan.  He arned 19 caps for Italy.

LB: Francesco Coco (Sicily)
He was a part of the Azzurri at Japan/Korea 2002. His longest stints were with Inter Milan and AC Milan.

DM: Gennaro Gattuso(Calabria)
He was a highly regarded destroyer in his prime. He spent 13 years with AC Milan, playing mainly next to Andreas Pirlo. He won two Champions' League with the club.  For the Azzurri, he won the 2006 WC Finals. 


Gennaro Gattuso

CM: Fernando De Napoli (Campania)
He was a part of the successful Napoli side that also featured Diego Maradona.  He won the scudetto in 1987 and 1990, the Coppa Italia in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1989, and the Supercoppa Italiana in 1990.

CM: Antonio Juliano (Campania)
He played with Napoli between 1962 and 1978.  He went to three WC Finals: 1966, 1970 and 1974, but only played one match.

LW:  Franco Causio (Apulia)
He was a part of the Azzurri at Euro 1980 and then, the World Cup in 1982.  He played for Juventus between 1970 and 1981.

AM: Stefano Fiore (Calabria) 
He gained recognition with Parma during the late 1990's.  He won two UEFA Cup with them.  Later, he played with Udinese and Lazio. He earned over 30 caps between 2000 and 2004 in period when Italy had many great attackers.

AM: Gianfranco Zola (Sardinia)
He played with Diegoi Maradona at Napoli as a young player. He played for Parma between 1993 and 1996, winning the 1995 UEFA Cup with Tomas Brolin, Fernando Couto, Faustino Asprilla and Stefano Fiore. He moved to Chelsea in 1996 and won the FWA Footballer of the Year.  He only played 35 times for Italy due to overcrowding of attack midfielders during his prime.

FW/AM: Fabio Quagliarella (Campania)

He started his career with Torino, but played for various clubs in Italy.  He was a part of Euro2008 and the WC Finals in 2010.  

FW: Antonio Di Natale (Campania)
He played 5 seasons with Empoli before siging with Udinese, where his career took off.  He was the Seria A top scorer for two seasons: 2010 and 2011. He only played 42 times for Italy.  He was a key player at the WC Finals in 2010. He also went to Euro 2008 and 2012.

FW: Antonio Cassano (Puglia)
He was controversial figure known to have clashes with managers, teammates, etc.  He made a big move to Roma as a 19 years old as one of Italy's brightest young players.  Initially, he found successes with the club, but clashes with Fabio Capello.  he would play for Real Madrid, Sampdoria, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Parma with mixed results.  He gained his caps in 2003, but he was in and out of the players' pool.

ST: Toto Schillaci (Sicily)
He started with Messina at home before moving to Juventus.  He was a relatively, unknown player at the beginning of Italia 1990. He started off as a substitute in the first two matches, where he scored decisive goals.  He became a starter at the third match.  He went on to form a great partnership with Roberto Baggio.  He scored 5 goals and finished as the top scorer.


Toto Schillaci
ST: Vincenzo Iaquinta (Calabria) 
Her made a name as the offensive partner of Antonio Di Natale.  He played for Juventus between 2007 and 2013.  He was a part of Italy's WC winning team in 2006.
  
ST: Mario Balotelli (Sicily)
Born in Sicily of Ghanian parents.  He was adopted by an Italian family of Jewish background.  He is known for his disciplinary problems with different clubs in his career.  He was considered one of Italy's brightest young stars.  He played with Inter Milan, Manchester City, AC Milan and now, Liverpool.

ST: Vincenzo Montella (Campania) 
His best years were spent with Roma, where he scored many, important goals, despite having conflicts with Coach Fabio Capello.  He went to Euro 2000 and the WC Finals in 2002, but saw limited action.

Honorable Mention 
Ciro Immobile (Campania), Fabio Quagliarella (Campania), Giuseppe Galderisi(Campania), Leonardo Costagliola(Puglia).

Squad Explanation
  • I do believe that Mario Balotelli is overrated, but he got better name recognition than Ciro Immobile (Campania), Fabio Quagliarella (Campania) and Giuseppe Galderisi(Campania). 
  • Simone Perrotta was born in England to parents from Cosenza, Calabria.
  •  Three of the bad boys of Italian football are on this team: Marco Materazzi, Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli.  Cassano did not live up to his talents. Balotelli is following his footsteps.
  • A few players were unlucky to live in a period where there are fierce competition for their positions.  Morgan Da Sanctis, Gianfranco Zola, Stefano Fiore and Ciro Ferrara wuld have a different international career if they were born in a different era.
Starting lineup
Formation: 4-2-1-3
  • At his very best, Cassano could be one of the best in Italy.  Fiore was the alternative.
  •  Sirigu has not done enough to be the starter yet.