Italy is a country with beautiful beaches, lots of monuments, cheerful people who adore celebrating family time, and football of course. It has a rich history filled with legendary players who have left a mark on the sport. It’s enough to mention Meazza, Maldini, or Buffon. Italy has produced some of the finest talents and shared them with the greatest football clubs around the world. Here are a few Italian football legends who have earned their place in the pantheon of the game.
#1 Giuseppe Meazza
This attacking player was famous in 1930-39, as the key member of Italy’s World Cup Winning Teams in 1934 and 1938. He won 53 caps and scored 33 goals, making them the second Italian player with such a high result.
and he is ranked by FIFA as number one of the World Cup’s Greatest Ever Italian players. Many football experts compare him to Pele.
His name was used to call San Siro stadium, officially called Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, used by Inter and AC Milan. By the way, check the present football results of these two teams to know how they’re doing.
#2 Paolo Maldini
Paolo Maldini, regarded as one of the greatest defenders in football history, spent his entire club career at AC Milan, where he played from 1988-2009. He is appreciated for his elegance, positioning, and leadership. He won 126 caps in his career, and 74 as a captain, which is still a record.
He played in four World Cups (1990, ’94, ’98 and 2002), as well as three European Championships (1988, ’96 and 2000). In 2000 his team played in the final when they were defeated by France. He also holds a record for the most appearances in Serie A, the Champions League and for Milan. He got a number three shirt from his club when the retired.
#3 Roberto Baggio
Roberto Baggio, known as Divine Ponytail, has a bad reputation for missing penalties, but also immense quality. One of the most important missed penalties happened in the 1994 World Cup final, which was lost by Italy.
He scored over 300 goals in clubs, which makes him the leader among Italian players. He can also be proud of 27 goals at the international level, which puts him in fourth place among Italian players. In 1993, he was awarded the Ballon d’Or and World Footballer of the Year.
He is the only Italian who scored at three World Cups and has been present as a member of Italy’s Juventus’, and Brescia’s All Time XI Teams.
#4 Franco Baresi
He debuted only in 1990 in the World Cup and was part of the squad that won the Cup in 1982, but he didn’t play. He was also present in the World Cups of 1990 and 1994, when his team reach the final.
He was more known in Italy than abroad thanks to his impressive 628 appearances for Milan over 20 years. He also received his number shirt when he retired and appeared in third place in Top 10 Central Defenders of All Time list.
#5 Gianluigi Buffon
A recently retired goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, is ranked 11th on FIFA World Cup’s list of Greatest Ever Italian players.
Although he was a reserve during the 1998 World Cup, Buffon’s journey to international glory faced a setback when a broken hand prevented him from participating in Euro 2000. However, he finally achieved a triumph in 2006 as a part of the Italian team that clinched the World Cup title. This victory led to his second-place finish in the FIFA World Player of the Year poll.
Buffon’s remarkable skills earned him the prestigious World Goalkeeper of the Year award four times. His excellence also earned him a place as the eighth-best goalkeeper in the Top 10 Goalkeepers of All Time list.