Winning at All Costs: A Scandalous History of Italian Soccer by John FootThe 2006 World Cup final between Italy and France was a down-and-dirty game, marred by French superstar Zidanes head-butting of Italian defender Materazzi. But viewers were also exposed to the poetry, force, and excellence of the Italian game; as operatic as Verdi and as cunning as Machiavelli, it seemed to open a window into the Italian soul. John Foots epic history shows what makes Italian soccer so unique. Mixing serious analysis and comic storytelling, Foot describes its humble origins in northern Italy in the 1890s to its present day incarnation where soccer is the national civic religion. A story that is reminiscent of Gangs of New York and A Clockwork Orange, Foot shows how the Italian game — like its political culture — has been overshadowed by big business, violence, conspiracy, and tragedy, how demagogues like Benito Mussolini and Silvio Berlusconi have used the game to further their own political ambitions. But Winning at All Costs also celebrates the sweet moments — the four World Cup victories, the success of Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan, the role soccer played in the resistance to Nazism, and the great managers and players who show that Italian soccer is as irresistible as Italy itself.
All-Time Greatest Italy Squad
The first of four one-club men to feature on the list, Bergomi played for only Internazionale throughout his career and held the record of most appearances for Inter Milan for many years until he was surpassed by Javier Zanetti in September of He would go on to spend the next twenty seasons in Serie A with Inter, although he won just one Scudetto as his Inter side played second fiddle to the great Milan teams of Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello. He later became captain of Internazionale and won the UEFA Cup on three occasions, holding the record for most appearances in the tournament's history With the Italian national team, Bergomi made 81 appearances in a year spell between to and made his debut in aged just 18 years and 3 months the youngest player to represent Italy post-World War 2. He was a member of the victorious World Cup squad in , making three appearances including the full minutes in the final.
A lot of the Azzurri's success has been founded on a resilient and strong defensive unit, as the emphasis is placed more on a solid backline than aesthetic football. With four World Cups and one European Championship under their belts, the Italian national football team is one of the most successful sides in history. The Italians popularized the 'catenaccio' door bolt brand of football through Helenio Herrera's legendary Inter side of the 's, and though Italy has produced iconic attacking players such as Paulo Rossi, Alessandro Del Piero, Francesco Totti and Roberto Baggio, it is for their legendary defenders that they are most famed. There have been exceptional Italian teams ditto defenders throughout history, including the back-to-back World Cup-winning sides of and and the mythical 'Grande Torino' team who won five consecutive Scudetti in the s, but lost most of its members tragically in the Superga air disaster. However, for a more objective breakdown, due to limited in-depth access to abilities and statistics of those players, this list is consigned to just the last 50 years.
The Great Hall of Immortals
Good evening! I am a little confused by equalizing role-libero and sweeper.
Italy is a country that values defenders above any other nation that has ever played association football. Defence has been the cornerstone of their success over the country's illustrious history in the sport. So good have the Azzurri been at this particular facet of the game that they have made it an art as such. The Azzurri won the World Cup in , , and with finals appearances in and Defending has been highlighted as a crucial aspect to each side's success, so here are the 20 greatest defenders in the country's history who will be recognised for their achievements forever. Giuseppe Favalli was a superb defender who is one of Lazio 's all-time great players. Favalli spent the majority of his career with the Biancocelesti, making appearances and was part of the side's second ever scudetto-winning side in
Italy's most capped player Gianluigi Buffon. Whilst we have already seen some mouth-watering squads and some of the greatest attacking players the world has ever seen in the squads of Brazil, Argentina and more, the Italians conveyor-belt of world class defenders is astounding, and the Italian legends defence could be virtually impenetrable. It is a mark of the sheer class of Italian defenders over the years that Fabio Cannavaro, a Ballon d'Or and World Cup winning central defender, misses out. He is one of a handful of greats that could not be accommodated here, such is the quality and depth Italy have produced over the years. Italy have won the joint second most World Cup's four , tied with Germany and trailing only Brazil, as well as reaching two further finals, both of which they lost to Brazil.
Italy News. Allemandi was an exciting defender who loved to get forward. Indeed, he boasted impressive stamina, allowing him to race from one end of the pitch to the other without being detrimental to his game. Allemandi was a key member of Italy's World Cup winning side at the tournament hosted on homesoil. Terrific sweeper Baresi played at two World Cup finals, with his appearances on the world stage somewhat restricted by the fierce competition for places.