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MILANISTA

Italiens größte Ikonen!

15 Beiträge in diesem Thema

Channel4.com hat eine Serie der größten Ikonen des italienischen Calcio herausgebracht. Hier die Top 15:

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Paul Gascoigne

As one of my esteemed colleagues once wrote, it is unlikely that Football Italia would have made such an impression on British football fans without Paul Gascoigne. The Gateshead-born playmaker was one of the most gifted footballers of his, or any other, generation, with his style and sense of fun attracting fans from all over the world to Italian football.

The England midfielder was playing for Tottenham Hotspur when Lazio signed him in April 1991. However, a mistimed tackle in the FA Cup Final against Nottingham Forest that year left him with a serious cruciate ligament injury. This ultimately meant he missed a full season and did not actually move to Italy until the summer of 1992, for a reduced fee of £5m. His eventual arrival at Rome airport caused scenes of unparalleled chaos, which in retrospect was a sign of things to come.

By this time Lazio had a new Coach in Dino Zoff and the Geordie ace made his debut on September 27 in the game against Genoa. His knee was soon tested as the visitors' hardman Mario Bortolazzi sent him crashing to the ground clutching his leg. The whole stadium held its collective breath and Gazza carried a limp until half-time before being substituted. What an introduction. However, he followed that game up with a Man of the Match display the following week against Parma.

There were many superb examples of this sublime ability and individuality in his relatively short spell in the Eternal City, but three stand out in particular. In his first derby game against Roma, with the Giallorossi leading 1-0, Gazza latched on to a cross to head in the equaliser, becoming an instant Biancocelesti legend at the same time. Another goal that is still talked about today was his fabulous individual effort against Pescara, where he beat several defenders with swerves and dummies before slotting the ball home.

The third act was performed in the return match against Genoa that season after he was dismissed for turning on the brutal Bortolazzi. Against all accepted behaviour, before leaving the pitch Gazza hugged the Genoa defender then shook hands with the referee and several other opponents. “It was something which no other player would have done,” said the previously critical 'Gazzetta dello Sport' and he earned a lot of respect for it.

Not a week passed without some incident. In April 1993 he fractured his cheekbone and was forced to wear a Phantom of the Opera style mask. A year later he broke his leg in training, after a clash with a young Alessandro Nesta, and missed most of the season before leaving to join Rangers in July 1995. Yet he will always be remembered in Italy for his special talents, which surely would have seen him on a par with the likes of Diego Maradona, Ruud Gullit, Michel Platini and Roberto Baggio if he had remained fit.

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Gianfranco Zola

It says a lot about Gianfranco Zola that he is considered one of the icons of the Calcio Italia era despite spending much of that time outside of Italy. A player short on size, if not stature, the Sardinian ace established himself as one of the most popular players in the Premier League during a seven-year stint at Chelsea and ensured that English fans changed their way of thinking about Italian football. Catenaccio became a distant memory thanks to Zola power.

However, it's almost forgotten that before his move to West London he was making waves at Parma. In the mid-1990s the Gialloblu were a force to be reckoned with and, with the help of Zola, the Tardini boys won the UEFA Cup against Juventus and also reached the European Cup-Winners' Cup Final, losing to Arsenal. But when Carlo Ancelotti made him a square peg in a round hole in 1996, it was time for a change - and a £4.5m move to Chelsea beckoned.

It is often said that foreigners need a year to settle into Premier League life, but Zola threw the rulebook out the window, winning the prestigious Footballer Writers' Player of the Year award in his first season. His ability to do the seemingly unthinkable wowed fans all over the country. That year the Blues won the FA Cup for the first time in 27 years, which they followed up a year later with glory in the League Cup and Cup-Winners' Cup. The latter saw Zola defy injury to make a stunning arrival as a substitute, netting the winner just 21 seconds after stepping on to the pitch.

By this point his Italy career had virtually ground to a halt. The two major tournaments he had played in went terribly, as he was sent off against Nigeria in the 1994 World Cup and missed a crucial penalty against Germany at Euro '96 - scandalously finishing with just 35 caps for the Azzurri.

Yet Zola will always be remembered fondly in West London. A spectacular individual goal against Manchester United in his first campaign led to Sir Alex Ferguson dubbing him “a clever little so-and-so,” and he lit up the 1997 FA Cup semi-final against Wimbledon with an amazing strike after turning on a six-pence to leave the defence for dead before firing home. A stunning mid-air back-heel flick against Norwich in 2002 was described by then Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri as “fantasy,” while his final goal for the club was an incredible lob from the narrowest of angles against Everton.

Even his exit from Stamford Bridge was remarkable. The day before Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea, Zola made up his mind to finish his career with his hometown club Cagliari, who were then in Serie B. No amount of money could convince him to change his mind. “My greatest satisfaction is off the pitch for the way people consider me and the respect they give me,” he said after being awarded an OBE. “Money can give you many things, but respect cannot be bought. What I have achieved in the way people regard me, in my mind, is remarkable.”

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Giuseppe Signori

Not even Giuseppe Signori himself knew what magic he possessed in that unforgettable left-foot of his. “It was Zdenek Zeman's first day at Foggia and he introduced himself to me by saying: 'Ciao, Bomber'. I found that odd because, up until that point, I had never netted more than five goals in a season. He unearthed my capacity to score.”

Born in Alzano Lombardo, Signori wasted little time in announcing himself to the public on these shores. Having been snapped up by Lazio after his heroics at Foggia, the curious Channel 4 public saw the dynamic 1.71m tall striker grab a brace in their first live game as the capital giants held Sampdoria to a thrilling 3-3 draw. The sight of Signori rippling the net became a familiar one during the Calcio Italia era.

An attacker blessed with the perfect mix of technique, physicality and an eye for goal, Signori made a massive impact. By the time he ended his Italian top-flight career he had hit an amazing 188 goals in 344 games between 1991 and 2004. Three times Capocannoniere, only six men have more goals to their name in Serie A history.

Signori is best remembered for his spell on the Biancocelesti side of the Tiber, where he became the captain and symbol of the team. The latter was clearly underlined following the events of June 11, 1995, when fans took to the streets after it was revealed that Sergio Cragnotti had agreed to sell him to Parma. The furore was so extreme that the President was forced to change his mind by the end of the day.

Beppegol eventually left the Italian capital for a six-month spell at Sampdoria in January 1998 before signing on a permanent basis at Bologna. Many thought he was finished by then, but he still proved himself to be a nightmare for defenders despite the falling sands of time.

Unfortunately for the man who famously took his penalties with a one-step run up, honours were rare. A scorer of seven goals in 28 caps, his Azzurri career is one filled with sorrow. After playing some part in all of Italy's USA '94 games, he told Arrigo Sacchi that he was not prepared to sacrifice himself as a wide midfielder in the Final against Brazil. “That's the only regret of my career,” he remembered. “A World Cup Final arrives once in a lifetime - it's a game that you would even play in goal for…”

Signori quit Italy in 2004 for a spell in Greece and then Hungary, but his legend lives on. Just like us, he is thankful for what he regularly delivered on any given Sunday. “It was a marvellous adventure,” he noted. “I enjoyed myself and I think people enjoyed me too.”

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Franco Baresi

Milan retired the No 6 shirt when Franco Baresi hung up his boots in 1997. It was a gesture that underlined just what sort of a contribution the stopper made to his beloved club - and the calcio scene in general - during his 23-year career. Ranked alongside Franz Beckenbauer and Gaetano Scirea as one of the finest sweepers the world has ever seen, he was the complete central defender.

For someone so great, it comes as a surprise that his path to stardom was such a problematic one. He was rejected by Inter as a teen after they opted to sign his brother Beppe instead and Milan, the team he had always supported, only snapped him up after three trials.

He would be greatly rewarded for his perseverance, though. Despite being a part of a Rossoneri side which was relegated to Serie B on two occasions, things would radically change once Silvio Berlusconi took control of the giants. Thanks to the President's significant cash investment, Baresi would end his one-club career with six Scudetti, three European Cups, three European Super Cups, two Intercontinental titles and four Italian Super Cups.

Baresi, who played 716 games for the outfit, was the lynchpin of one of the strongest defences the footballing world will ever see. A master reader of the game, he made sure that Mauro Tassotti, Alessandro Costacurta, Paolo Maldini and himself moved as one. Impeccable timing, tenacious tackling and a neat passer of the ball, he also had the know-how of when to foul - and get away with it.

Baresi inevitably made an impact on the international scene too. A non-playing member of the 1982 World Cup winning squad, the eventual owner of 81 Italian caps became an unmovable piece of the Azzurri jigsaw once Azeglio Vicini took over after the disastrous Mexico '86 tournament. Only penalties cost him the chance of winning a second Mondiale in 1990 and 1994.

Although many will remember him for missing a spot-kick in the USA '94 Final against Brazil, the 120 minutes of football that he played prior to the shoot-out was a memorable defensive master class. That display was made all the more extraordinary given that it came just 25 days after he underwent knee surgery. The tears that he shed at the end of that game were those of an Italian hero.

We may have only witnessed Baresi at close quarters during the twilight of his career during the Calcio Italia era, but it was enough for us to recognise his stature in the game. And if you close your eyes for a second and think of Franco, you won't be alone in seeing a figure with a Rossoneri shirt hanging over his shorts and an 'offside' arm raised in the air. It could only be Franco Baresi…

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Christian Vieri

Christian Vieri was never going to be your typical Italian star. At a young age he moved to Sydney when his father Roberto, himself a professional footballer with Juventus and Sampdoria, accepted a role as player-Coach of Australian side Club Marconi.

That upbringing Down Under has had a noticeable effect on him to this day, such as his love of cricket and the thick Australian drawl with which he swore at surprised British journalists at the 2002 World Cup. But that hasn't stopped him becoming a symbol of the modern calcio star - both on and off the pitch, for better or worse.

Bobo - as he became known in homage to his father Bob - can split opinion like few others. He may not have the technique of some of his Azzurri counterparts, but he has always made up for that with his strength, power and eye for goal. However, he has also been iconic for his regular appearances in the Press for his frequent tantrums and on-again off-again relationships with supermodels and European princesses.

He perhaps embraced the celebrity lifestyle a little too gladly for some fans, but his achievements on the pitch more than make up for it. He was a relatively late bloomer and it wasn't until the age of 22 that he first came to the fore with Atalanta and then Juventus. However, it was when he left Italy for a season-long spell in Spain with Atletico Madrid that we saw the Vieri we all know. His 24 goals in as many appearances sealed his place in the Nazionale and saw him return to Serie A with a huge reputation.

His time with Lazio was also short-lived though. A world record transfer fee of £32m - incidentally, the same number can still be seen on the back of his shirt with current club Fiorentina - saw him move north to Inter where the best and worst of Vieri was on display. Nowhere else has his temper been seen so often or his qualities as a scorer been so evident.

The striker hit double figures every season he played for the Nerazzurri and broke the 20-goal mark twice. The highlights were undoubtedly his Capocannoniere crown in 2002-03 and the equally impressive 24 strikes in just 23 games the following term. His six-year spell with Inter - by far the longest time he spent with one club - will perhaps be remembered as much for its controversial end than his great performances spearheading the Biscione attack.

After his contract was cancelled by mutual consent, he enraged many fans by switching to city rivals Milan. Unfortunately, his career since then has been blighted by a serious injury that saw him miss out on the 2006 World Cup and go through five clubs since the summer of 2005. However, Vieri will always be remembered for his controversial off-the-field lifestyle and the powerful performances in front of goal that he has demonstrated so often during a career that has spanned an amazing 15 different teams.

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Zinedine Zidane

It takes a special kind of player to commit a heinous physical assault in the biggest football match in the world, yet still be seen as the hero. Of course, the victim of the head-butt being Marco Materazzi will have helped Zinedine Zidane gain sympathy, but you get the feeling the Frenchman could have gone noggin-to-chest with Paolo Maldini and it still wouldn't have tainted his reputation.

Possibly one of only two men who could even begin to be spoken of in the same breath as Diego Maradona and Pele - the other being fellow Juventus alumni Michel Platini - Zizou made an indelible mark on Serie A in the late 1990s. His £3m transfer to Turin from Bordeaux, after taking them to the UEFA Cup Final and excelling for France at Euro '96, gave La Vecchia Signora a true successor to the black and white jersey of Platini. And while he will likely be better remembered for his days at Real Madrid, it was the five years at the Stadio Delle Alpi which allowed him to develop into a Galactico.

As part of Marcello Lippi's classic Bianconeri outfit, ZZ was integral in the side's journey to consecutive European Cup Finals in 1997 and 1998. He followed that double disappointment up with a Player of the Tournament display at the 1998 World Cup, where he and teammate Didier Deschamps ensured that Serie A had a major impact on another Mondiale.

While he finally earned his Champions League medal with the Liga club, his most successful years were on the peninsula. The two Scudetti, an Italian Super Cup, European Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup bettered his haul with the Spaniards, while his individual accolades were mainly earned with the Zebrette. European Footballer of the Year in 1998, he also claimed two of his three World Player of the Year crowns before leaving the peninsula for Iberia.

However, for all his glorious twists, turns, tricks and skills, it will be that phenomenal loss of composure against the Azzurri during the 2006 World Cup Final that will now be his legacy. It is ironic that the negative full stop at the end of his story came against Italy, the country where I believe he blossomed into the third best player of all-time. Hero to villain, the Gallic genius will always be intrinsically linked with calcio and it was an honour to witness his breathtaking talent during his time with Juventus.

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Roberto Mancini

So little has changed over the years. If you look back to the very first Serie A game on British television, or our first issue of the magazine, you'd see an irritable man with bags under his eyes, arguing with the referee, shouting instructions to all the players and furiously wiping his hair back with one hand. Fast forward to 2008 and Roberto Mancini is doing the exact same thing, albeit now on the sidelines and wearing a suit. Becoming a Coach was always his destiny. As Vujadin Boskov used to say: “Mancio would give more orders on the pitch than I did.”

This fiery character was intrinsically linked to his style of football - arrogant and with every reason to be so. It's no wonder he is so fond of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, for he was the original dribble addict, purveyor of fantastical flicks and inspirational assists. “I understand Ibra, for I was just like him. When I was 24 or 25, I too played for the crowd and myself, paying little attention to being clinical in front of goal. I was also pulled up by my Coaches so many times.” Inevitably, a showman such as this won the hearts of fans wherever he went and his teammates saw him as a true leader, a born captain.

At the time the youngest ever Serie A debutant, at the age of 16 for Bologna, he found his spiritual home at Sampdoria and a father figure in President Paolo Mantovani. Before his arrival the Blucerchiati had barely won anything, but after 133 Serie A goals in 424 appearances he had helped place the Scudetto, European Cup-Winners Cup, Italian Super Cup, four Coppa Italias and a European Cup runners-up medal into their trophy cabinet.

Mancio's mark on the side extended over 15 years, from Boskov's title-winners to the impressive Sven Goran Eriksson era. The Swedish tactician taught him to channel that inarguable natural talent into a more disciplined style of play and he followed Sven to Lazio in 1997. The career highlights continued to add up at the Olimpico with another Scudetto, Cup-Winners Cup, European Super Cup, Italian Super Cup and two Coppa Italia trophies. The Nazionale represents the only gap in his CV, as here his wilful streak and short shrift with the Press made him too hot to handle. It is criminal to think a talent like Mancini had only 36 Italy caps.

As the magazine continues to roll on, so does Mancio's influence on Serie A. He still doesn't suffer fools gladly and wants to give the fans something to enjoy. I get the feeling his acrobatics on the sidelines have a little bit of that old show-off quality about them, forever playing to the gallery.

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Ricardo Kaká

When Kaka arrived for just £5m in 2003, Milan President Silvio Berlusconi described the fee as 'peanuts'. The ex-politician has certainly never spoken a truer word. In just four years in Italy, the pride of the Selecao has made an astonishing transition from promising starlet to an idol for a generation.

Whenever the Diavolo need inspiration, they turn to their ex-Sao Paulo ace and he rarely disappoints. Indeed, in Kaka's brief absences during this campaign, Carlo Ancelotti's side have looked dangerously toothless. In addition to acting as a devastating playmaker, Kaka's goal threat is increasing every year. He is closing in on 50 League goals with seven already to his name this term.

As sensational as he has been in Serie A, Kaka's greatest triumphs have been played out on the European stage. He was the star of the 2004-05 Champions League and dusted himself off after a heartbreaking Final defeat against Liverpool to deliver revenge last season when he was the tournament's top scorer. Winning the coveted Ballon d'Or merely confirmed his status as the world's most valuable player and can join the FIFPro Players' World Player of the Year award on what is becoming a cluttered mantelpiece.

The battle to be regarded as the best player on the planet in the past 12 months has seemingly been a head-to-head between Kaka and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, but arguably the greatest player to ever kick a football has given his backing to the Milan man. “Kaka is a player with great quality and that makes him stronger than Ronaldo - it will also help him become one of the best players ever,” beamed Pele. “In my opinion, he is the best player in the world, without a doubt.”

The future looks still brighter for the unassuming genius. It's not just his dazzling skill and impeccable eye for goal that should allow Kaka to keep his place at the giddy heights of calcio stardom, it is also his refreshing demeanour off the pitch. While so many gifted footballers see their potential diluted by a hedonistic lifestyle and the trappings of fame, the Brasilia native is a completely different story. Quiet, pious and shy, Kaka doesn't fit the stereotype for a footballing hero and that could prove to be his greatest asset.

It is easy to forget that he is still just 25-years-old and has the prime of his career still to come. Next summer will undoubtedly see a deluge of offers from Europe's giants and the umpteenth act of the pantomime starring Real Madrid, but should Kaka follow through on his promise to honour his contract at San Siro, he has every chance of becoming one of calcio's all time greats.

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Gianluigi Buffon

When you talk about the best goalkeeper in the world, you are obviously talking about Gigi Buffon. The Juventus net-minder has been one of the dominant figures in Italy over the last decade, and we have had the pleasure of watching him turn from a talented youth to one of the most loyal and skilful players on the planet.

Gianluigi started his career at Parma and made his debut aged only 17 against Milan back in 1995-96. He also bagged his first important title that year, winning the European Under-21 Championship. It was quite clear to everyone that the Carrara-born youngster had an explosive talent, part of which probably came from his uncle Lorenzo, who was a former Milan and Genoa guardian. Buffon's glittering career kept on a high trajectory with the Gialloblu and he managed to win several trophies, including the UEFA Cup and the Italian Super Cup.

His move to Juventus in 2001 confirmed that we were dealing with a player out of the ordinary - no wonder his fans started calling him 'Superman' soon after. The Bianconeri were happy to spend £32m to sign the Italian international, which is still a world record fee for a goalkeeper. Buffon's destiny was to follow in the footsteps of another legend of Italian football, Dino Zoff, but we can claim he has gone even further.

Gigi celebrated his first Scudetto at the end of his debut season in Turin and the victories with the Bianconeri kept on coming, as well as personal accolades - he was named the best Serie A goalkeeper seven times from 1999 to 2006. In 2003, the Zebrette star failed to win what would have been his first Champions League, but he was still named MVP of the competition by UEFA, the first time ever for a custodian.

A few years later disaster struck, as Gigi was ruled out for most of the 2005-06 season due to a shoulder injury picked up during the Trofeo Berlusconi friendly against Milan. Nevertheless, he still made it back in time to celebrate a second consecutive Scudetto. The Calciopoli scandal - which wiped out those last two titles - didn't affect the relationship between Buffon and the Old Lady, with the goalkeeper staying loyal to the club following their demotion to Serie B.

The World Cup victory in the same summer was undoubtedly the greatest moment of his career. The 28-year-old was a vital member of the Azzurri team at Germany 2006, conceding only two goals as he showed the world his stunning talent. The Lev Yashin Award also confirmed that Buffon had no equals. Returning to Serie A with Juventus has been the next important step. Gigi is now heading towards new achievements to add to his already glorious career, while from the Bianconeri stands the supporters will keep on chanting for their special No 1.

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Fabio Cannavaro

We surely could not have contemplated listing the superstars of our lifetime without including Fabio Cannavaro. The skipper of the first Italian team that we saw lift the World Cup, one of only two Italians to be named the best player in Europe in our era, an Azzurri centurion - Cannavaro has been a true giant over the last 16 years.

One of just a handful of players to have featured in our debut season back in 1992-93, he began his journey with Napoli - his hometown outfit and the one he claims he will end his career with. As a youngster he learned his trade watching future Juventus teammate Ciro Ferrara and gazing in awe from his spot as a San Paolo ball boy as the Vesuviani claimed a brace of Scudetti thanks to the magic of Diego Armando Maradona.

In fact, Cannavaro's path seems to have touched greatness at every turn. His next move took him to Parma in 1995, where he grew up along with Gigi Buffon - soon graduating to the Azzurri and reaping his first medals as the Gialloblu lifted the UEFA Cup. By this time it was becoming clear that he was a little bit special, and in his second start for Italy against England at Wembley he shackled Alan Shearer like a veteran.

Only his switch to Inter in 2003 seemed to derail his meteoric rise. The time with the Nerazzurri following his £22m transfer was not a happy one and the opportunity to reacquaint himself with Buffon and Lilian Thuram - his ex-Parma teammates - at Juventus was taken with relish. Two championships in Turin under the tutelage of Fabio Capello, although tainted by Calciopoli, were a great pre-cursor for his finest hour.

While it was an all-round team performance from Marcello Lippi's side that gave La Nazionale the golden ice cream for the first time in 24 years, there can be no denying the importance of the man nicknamed the Berlin Wall. He led the 10 men from the back against the USA, took Andrea Barzagli under his wing when the kid was thrown in against Australia and was the smiling leader of every post-match celebration.

It is notable that no opposition player breached Italy's back-line from open play during the competition and Fab rightly went on to claim both the World and European Player of the Year awards. He may have taken his talents away from the peninsula for the time being, but Cannavaro will always have a place in our hearts as we remember the glory of two summers ago. Quite simply the best Italian centre-back of our era.

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Alessandro Del Piero

It is curious for such a notoriously nice guy who never gets into trouble to became a polarising figure, but things have rarely been simple for the boy from Conegliano Veneto. Think back and you'll remember a 20-year-old starlet so impressive, so talented, so prodigious that he was able to push Roberto Baggio out of the Juventus side and grab his No 10 shirt.

The moment I decided Alessandro Del Piero was something truly special was shown live on Channel 4 in December 1994, Juve fighting their way back from 2-0 down to Fiorentina and winning 3-2 in the last minute with an audacious volley off the outside of his right boot. “That remains my favourite goal, I have to admit. I've scored many that I remember fondly, but that one was really special.” Just look at the fact he has a style of shot named after him. The goal 'alla Del Piero' sees him approach from the left flank and curl an impossibly slow and precise lob into the far top corner, where the goalkeeper simply cannot reach.

We have rarely seen that finish since the injury that almost wrecked his career. At the height of his powers, after scoring 32 goals in all competitions in 1997-98, he snapped both anterior and posterior knee ligaments on November 8, 1998. A nine-month lay-off was the least of his problems, as he has struggled for form ever since.

That lack of confidence proved disastrous, with crucial misses in the Euro 2000 Final and Fabio Capello threatening to end his career early. Some have still not forgiven him for that and it's a big reason - along with keeping Baggio out of the Azzurri side - why he has attracted such bitter recrimination. The World Cup victory was a cathartic moment and at last he could afford to demand he be played in position rather than thrown to the lions in a wide role that didn't suit his talents - even if that meant exclusion from the Nazionale.

Juventus never lost their faith in Pinturicchio and he was the first to stand by them after their Calciopoli demotion. “I will never wake up from this strange dream, because it is all true. In a few weeks I became world champion and played in Serie B with the Juventus No 10 shirt on my back.”

The captain led his troops back to the top flight, winning the Capocannoniere title with 20 goals. His place in history is assured as top all-time Juventus scorer on 219 goals, their most prolific marksman in European competition with 44 strikes, the Bianconeri's best free-kick specialist with 29 and currently the fourth top Serie A scorer still in activity on 136.

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Francesco Totti

Have Roma ever had a better player than Francesco Totti? The Giallorossi's top scorer and appearance maker, Er Pupone has become a symbol of both the club and the city during his 15-year spell at the Stadio Olimpico. He has arguably been the most talented attacking talent in the Calcio Italia era and it is unlikely that the Eternal City outfit will ever be quite the same once he eventually hangs up his boots. Thankfully, that doesn't look like happening anytime soon, as the No 10 continues to go from strength to strength - as he proved by winning the European Golden Boot last term.

Totti's Roma journey began back in 1989 when he joined the club's youth team at the tender age of 13. He hasn't looked back since, making his debut when just 16 and becoming captain after just three full seasons with the senior side. The list of personal accolades he has picked up makes astonishing reading - Italian Player of the Year on four occasions, Serie A Player of the Year twice, Serie A Young Footballer of the Year once. All that's missing is a major international individual award…

And that's where many people believe that Totti failed to prove himself - with La Nazionale. However, nine goals from 58 caps aren't figures that tell the true story of his international career. He lit up his first major tournament, Euro 2000, by inspiring the Azzurri to the Final before spectacularly letting himself down at the next two events. But he made up for it with a remarkable recovery from a broken ankle to take his place at Germany 2006 - and we all know how that ended. Totti wasn't at his best, but his presence was vital.

Despite the Mondiale success, his proudest moment was undoubtedly winning the Scudetto in 2001. Many people lambasted his decision to remain with his hometown club despite offers from the likes of Real Madrid, but Totti was vindicated by leading them to only their third League championship. “I'll never leave this club,” he insisted. “I could have done it in the past, but refused every time. And I'm proud of myself. Roma is the best choice I could have made in my career.”

There are few examples of one-club players in the modern game, so Totti's loyalty should be applauded. Some felt it showed a lack of ambition on his part, while others claimed that he knew he would never be able to cope at another club where he wasn't top dog. But as John Milton once wrote: “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” If Giuseppe Giannini was the Prince of Rome then consider Totti the King.

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Gabriel Batistuta

Who can put a figure on how many trophies loyalty cost Gabriel Omar Batistuta? Had he moved away from Florence sooner than he did he could surely have added a few Scudetti, maybe a Champions League and quite possibly a handful of major Player of the Year prizes to his personal haul. That he stayed put for so long speaks volumes about the man.

Yet it was a marriage that might not have happened. Fiorentina wanted an Argentine striker and could not decide between Batigol and his national teammate Diego Latorre. In the end, they signed them both and either one could have gone on to greater things. However, while the latter sunk without trace in Serie A, the man with the golden boot became one of the finest foreigners ever to play in Italy.

“Fiorentina have scored. It's that man again, Gabriel Batistuta!” That statement became something of a catchphrase for Peter Brackley throughout the formative years of UK coverage of Italian football. The Argentine famously found the net in 11 consecutive games at the start of one Serie A season to set a new top-flight record, while at international level he became the top scorer in his country's history with 56 strikes.

It was not just the volume of goals he scored, however, but the manner in which he scored them that marked him out. With his trademark mop of hair, he used to thunder past defenders, often brushing them out of the way before powering the ball into the net - sometimes threatening to carry the goalkeeper with it. His celebrations, too, were something special. For a while he would grab the corner flag and stand proudly beside it. Then he started firing an invisible machine gun each time he scored. He got through plenty of ammunition over the years.

They famously erected a statue to him in Florence and he still comes to the Artemio Franchi on a regular basis where he gets a hero's welcome. However, it took a move to Roma to eventually get him the single Scudetto that was scant reward for the ability he possessed. He played briefly for Inter before concluding his career with Al-Arabi in Qatar, but his name will be forever linked with one club. To Fiorentina fans he will always be their 'Guerriero mai domo' - a warrior who never knew when he was beaten.

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Roberto Baggio

“Giannini gives the ball to Baggio. A one-two with Baggio. Baggio cuts inside. Baggio, Baggio, Baggio - a feint by Baggio! He shoots! Grandissimo gol di Baggio!” This was how the Italian-speaking world first heard the Divine Ponytail make his presence felt on the international stage. Even the normally restrained voice of commentator Bruno Pizzul started to crack as the little Fiorentina player dribbled half the Czechoslovakian team to score for his country at Italia '90. An Azzurri legend had been born.

For the rest of the decade - and beyond - the frail-looking champion from Caldogno was at the centre of most football discussions the length and breadth of Italy. He remains to this day one of the purest talents ever to kick a ball for his country. He was also one of the game's most intriguing characters.

Although he played for all three of Italy's biggest sides, none of them ever quite took him to their heart. At Juventus President Gianni Agnelli once famously described him as a “drowned rabbit”. In a football world already obsessed with physique and stamina they could find little place for his sublime skills. It was only when he went back to smaller clubs - like the one where he made his reputation - that he truly thrived.

It is easy to forget just how much of a role he played in dragging Italy to the Final of the 1994 World Cup. If it had not been for his pinpoint finish against Nigeria their tournament might have ended there. It was unfair that one of the greatest penalty takers in the history of the Italian game should end up blasting his most important spot-kick over the bar.

Be it with the big guns, however, or with Brescia, Bologna or Fiorentina, he was always worth watching. Having fought back from critical knee surgery as a teenager, we were lucky to see him play for as long as he did. When he retired from the game there was not a dry eye in the house.

In terms of silverware his rewards were not, perhaps, as great as they might have been, but few players made a bigger mark on the Italian game in the 1990s. His raggedy ponytail, his Buddhist beliefs and amazing scoring record for someone who was not an out-and-out striker made him a unique figure. “It is not a mirage, it's Roberto Baggio!” they used to sing in a pop song dedicated to the great man. He was certainly one of the most pleasant visions ever to grace Serie A and the Nazionale.

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Paolo Maldini

What can you say about Paolo Maldini that hasn't already been said? A one-club man who is a legend for both Milan and Italy, he is possibly the only player currently active who can claim to be the best that the world has ever seen in his position.

He joined the Rossoneri at the age of 10 and he is still there as he approaches his 40th birthday. The difference is that now he has become a true icon to both Italian fans and many others around the world. Whenever I think of a great defender it is his image that comes to mind - he is a symbol of calcio and what any young star should aspire to be.

Maldini's list of honours is awe-inspiring. He has seven Scudetti, one Coppa Italia, five Italian Super Cups, five Champions League titles, five European Super Cups and three World Club Cups to his name - and those are just his team honours.

As an individual he holds the record number of appearances for Milan, Italy's national side and Serie A, as well as being named in Pele's list of the greatest living footballers. He is the oldest player ever to score in a European Cup Final, also claiming the quickest goal in the showpiece match - not bad for someone usually associated with stopping the ball reaching the net rather than putting it there himself.

Quite a roll of honour then, but it doesn't tell you everything about Maldini. It can't describe the unique relationship he holds with the fans, the way his mere presence on the pitch seems to fill his teammates with confidence. Even as he has aged well into his 30s, the versatile defender has never lost his ability to make an inch-perfect tackle or his instinctive knack of being in the right position to intercept an otherwise deadly pass. All of those qualities mean that not only is he a great icon of calcio, but possibly the greatest of them all. Even the Diavolo's rivals can't help but respect a player who has meant so much to Italian football.

He came under a lot of pressure after being made Italy captain by his father Cesare, but his performances made any suggestions of parental bias completely ridiculous. When he does finally retire he will be sorely missed, but he will always be remembered as the modern symbol of Italian defending.

Quelle: channel4.com

bearbeitet von MILANISTA

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Tolle Liste - alles große Spieler, keine Frage.

Mich persönlich freut am meisten natürlich Signori. Einer der besten Stürmer der Serie A gewesen, und meiner Meinung nach der BESTE der jemals bei Lazio spielte!

Grazie Peppegol! :love::clap:

Und Gazza natürlich ein Klassiker. :super:

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Offensichtlich geht's ja um 199x-200x und da frag ich mich schon wieso Maldini Erster ist und Baresi Zwölfter. Ich mein er hat 97 aufgehört, aber er war in den 90ern immer noch der beste auf seiner Position. Zidane hinter Kaka find ich auch witzig. Er hat den Fußball 10 Jahre lang geprägt und darunter 5 bei Juve und ist hinter einem der ein bis zwei gute Saisonen gespielt hat.

Abgesehen davon sind solche Listen sowieso von kaum einer Aussagekraft.

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Also von den Namen her passt das mMn schon, auch die ersten Fünf würde ich in dieser Reihenfolge stehen lassen, der Rest ist relativ willkürlich.

Was Ricky anbelangt so geb ich dir recht, soweit vorne hat er (noch) nichts zu suchen!...

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Naja der Baresi war aber meiner Meinung nach en barre mitn Maldini was können und Status in Verein und Nationalmannschaft betrifft, wenn nicht höher.

Ich weiß ja nicht was der Bemessungszeitraum des Artikels ist, aber wenn Gazza dabei ist kanns nicht zu weit in den Neunzigern angefangen haben und da hätte sich der Franco schon mehr "verdient" als den 12. Platz.

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erstens: was soll diese nummer fünf?

zweitens: WO ZUM TEUFEL IST DIE HAND GOTTES?

edit: aha, die wollen also nur die letzten fünfzehn jahre.

naja, wem's gefällt.

bearbeitet von herr_obskur

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alles top spieler!

ich persönlich freue mich das Alessandro Del Piero :allaaah: und Roberto Baggio :allaaah: dabei sind weil es meine absoluten lieblingsspieler sind !

da es sich nur um die letzten 15 jahre handelt kann maradona leider nicht dabei sein.

für mich ist Diego Armando Maradona der beste fussballer den es bis jetzt gegeben hat.

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