Top Ten Italian Soccer Players
Italy is a land of soccer or “calcio” as the italians call it. It is a country that lives the sport with great passion for the game, with historical clubs and stadiums. Just like pizza, spaghetti, or designer clothes, one cannot think of Italy without thinking of football soccer. Because of this, Italy has a history and tradition of developing some of the greatest footballers to ever play the beautiful game, like Baggio, Maldini, or the great Giuseppe Meazza who had AC Milan’s home stadium named after him. But who are the names playing for the azurra that are looking at a spot in history amongst these legends? Here is a list of the Top Ten Italian Soccer Players.
10. Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC)
One of the best midfielders to play the Game. Andrea has always had great vision to distribute passes and be the playmaker when a team begins an attack. His great control and superb precision passing skills made him the “brains” behind some of the best teams in the world like AC Milan, Juventus, and the Italian national team, and led them to win 6 Italian league titles, 2 Champions leagues and one world Cup. Now at 38, playing for New York City, his abilities still make him one of the best players available for the “azurra”.
9. Francesco Totti (AS Roma)
Although Totti was only active until a few weeks ago when he retired and played his final match with Roma, he still deserves a spot on this list, having been one of the finest midfielders last season for Roma, considering he was playing at 40 years of age. The Roman captain might not have had the speed and agility of other times, but his great creativity, technique and strength made up for it and still made him be a player who made a difference in Roma’s attack every time he entered the pitch. Totti never left Roma during his career which is something rare these days that deserves recognition. He led them to one league title, and two Italian cups. He was also part of the national Italian team, where as captain, he got to hold the World Cup in 2006.
8. Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan)
This young goalkeeper is making the headlines all over Italy due to his amazing performances with AC Milan, his height and great athletics that have allowed him to make what would seem impossible saves, has people talking about him becoming the natural substitute for legend Gianluigi Buffon. At only 17 years of age he made his debut with the Italian National tTeam, making him the youngest player to do so and now being only 18 years old he is already considered to be one of the best currently active goalkeepers in Europe and the world.
7. Andrea Barzagli (Juventus)
When it comes to defensive-minded left backs, Andrea Barzagli is not only the best in Italy, but the best in the world. Barzagli has great defending skills when marking players one on one, always winning his duels, as well as great vision and speed to make precise tackes that allow him to break through passes and recover the ball quickly. The Juventus star has some great passing accuracy. He is able to deliver short passes as well as long lobbed passes that always end up giving his attacking teammates an advantage over their markers when receiving. His height and great skill to cut air balls also allow him to play as a center back. He has been vital in both positions for Juventus recent UCL run to reach the final, and with the Italian squad where he won the 2006 World Cup.
6. Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma)
This Roman player is nothing short of a real life gladiator. The tough as nails defensive midfielder is one of the best in his position, he has strength and speed to make strong tackles and is a beast at recovering balls for his team. He also has great ball control, passing technique, and vision to be a playmaker when his squad needs it to start attacks. De rossi has won two Italian Cups with AS Roma and a World Cup with the Italian national team.
5. Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)
Marchisio is a complete midfielder who is not only great at defending and recovering balls, but he is also skillful with the ball and talented, being able not only to deliver precise passes but also to dribble out of two or three surrounding opponents and clean the play. The Juventus star also has great shooting from outside the box that have allowed him to score many goals from a distance, something that can be quite rare among midfielders. His abilities have led Juventus to win six Italian League Titles and is one of the key players on the current Italian squad.
4. Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Giorgio Chiellini is an authentic wall with great reflexes with the ability to anticipate passes and intercept them. His great height and strength allows him to always come on top when marking strikers one on one and also to with divided balls especially in the air. This center back is one of the best in the world due to his aggressiveness when defending but also great ball control and ability to play from the back. He is known for being able to win headers when attacking to score goals, especially after a corner kick. Chiellini has won six Italian League titles with Juventus and was part of the Olympic Italian soccer team that won a bronze medal in 2004.
3. Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
Another authentic Italian wall, like his teammate who we just mentioned, Giorgio Chiellini, Bonucci is known for his great defensive skills, specially when marking and when having to anticipate himself to intercept passes and win over air balls. But perhaps what sets him one step ahead from Chiellini and other center backs around the world is his great ability to play with his feet. Not only can he play from the back and build up play but he has great dribbling technique and ball control that allow him to come out of the back with the ball in his possession. With a great touch on the ball, he can not only deliver perfectly accurate long passes but he is also a great distance shot taker. He has even been able to score goals from outside the box. Leonardo Bonucci not only has great defensive skills, but also great attacking ones, that make him one of the best center backs currently in the world of football.
2. Marco Verratti (PSG)
Considered the best attacking midfielder to currently be playing the game in the world, Marco Verratti is talented and technically naturally gifted player that has some great playmaking ability, being able to create precision passes and to clean up play and come out of several marking defenders. He has great ball control and dribbling skills as wells, being able to also win one on one duels if necessary. He is always able to keep possession to the ball and build the play into a scoring chance for his team. Verratti agility and speed allow him not only to anticipate and intercept balls, but he can also dribble on the run and create breakaways and build scoring opportunities. Verratti shot to fame when he was a key member of the Pescara squad that earned promotion to the Italian Serie A in 2012. He currently plays for Paris Saint Germain, where he has already helped them win four French League titles.
1. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
The living legend, and considered by many, the best goalkeeper in the world in the last decade, Buffon is a perfect goalkeeper that has made unbelievable saves at key moments for both his club and national team. Read more about the legend here His reflexes, physical strength and agility that make him able to fly between the posts are some of the trademarks of the Italian captain. Buffon not only receives praise in the football world for his abilities but also for his mental strength. He always seems focused and calm even under great pressure, and appears to block the most complicated shots with extreme ease. With ten Italian Leagues trophies under his belt and one World Cup, all that he needs is to win a UEFA Champions league to add to his already great legacy.