Three Greatest Italian Footballers

Italy is one of the most popular countries across the world, and it is a country with a love for the game of football. Italy is no stranger to top-class players, as they have the best players in every football role, which includes goalkeeping.

The Italian national team, also known as the Gli Azzurri, are one of the most successful national team in association football having managed to win 5 international titles which include 4 FIFA World Cups as well as one UEFA European Championship and one Olympic Gold medal from the 1936 football tournament,

with providing odds in their world cup-winning year back in 2006 when they triumphed over France in Germany.

In this article, we will be looking at a few best players who have represented the Southern European country based on caps and success.

Fabio Cannavaro (CB)

Fabio Cannavaro is considered one of the greatest defenders of all time during his professional football career. Standing at 5 feet and 9 inches, Cannavaro played majorly as a centre-back at the heart of the defence.
The Italian defender made his debut for the national team back in 1997 at the age of 24 after displaying an impressive run of form with Parma, who finished the season as runners-up in the Serie A with only two points deficit. He quickly became a regular in the national team and he started several games for the Italian team which included the 1998 World Cup when the Azzurri was eliminated in the quarter-finals as well as the Euro 2000 final where France defeated the team.

Not long after he replaced Paolo Maldini as captain in the Gli Azzurri and was able to lead his team to World Cup glory in 2006, playing every single game without receiving a single card throughout the tournament.
With 136 caps, Cannavaro has the second most appearances as an Italy captain with 79. Due to his amazing performance in the World Cup and club, he won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year in 2006.

Gianluigi Buffon (GK)

Gianluigi Buffon is undoubtedly one of the greatest goalkeepers football has ever seen. He made his club debut at the age of 17 in a game against AC Milan. Three years later, he received his call-up to the Azzurri in 1997 at the age of 19. He was the Gli Azzurri's main goalkeeper from 2002 to 2018, and he didn't fail to drop amazing performance in his 176 appearances for the team.

With only two goals conceded in 7 games and 5 clean sheets, he was named the goalkeeper of the tournament in the 2006 World Cup. His save against Germany in the WC semifinals is considered as one of the greatest in football's history. Buffon was named for the Gli Azzurri in 2013 before he finally retired from international football in 2018.

Buffon is the player with the most caps in the Italian national team with 176. The Italian is known for his quick reflexes, agility, and saves.

Andrea Pirlo (CM)

Andrea Pirlo is one of the most popular playmakers in the history of football. He started his career as an attacking midfielder and he made his debut for Italy in 2002 at the age of 23. He played a pivotal role in helping Italy win the 2006 World Cup.

He played in every game and provided 4 assists as well as scoring a goal in the tournament. He ended up picking the Bronze ball for being the third-best player of the tournament. Pirlo went on to appear for Italy in two European Championships, 1 World Cup and one Confederations Cup. His last appearance for the Gli Azzurri happened in 2015 at the age of 36. He is also famous for being a specialist in freekicks.

Honourable mentions: Dino Zoff, Guiseppe Meazza and Paolo Maldini.