Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Southern Italy Greatest All-Time Team

Southern Italy consists of the administrative regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise, Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia. The big clubs in the area are Napoli, Cagliari, Palermo, Bari, Messina, Lecce and Catania.  Italian football is dominated by the Northern clubs, but Diego Maradona led Napoli to break monopoly in the 1980's.
Please also look at my all-time Italy team here and my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Italian diaspora
Central Italy.
Northern Italy(excluding Lombardy)Lombardy

Italy after 1982Italy between 1938 and 1982.

GK: Morgan Da Sanctis (Abruzzo)
Da Sanctis is brilliant keeper, but his international opportunities limited by Gianluigi Buffon. He was, however, included in squads for Euro 2008, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012.  From 1999 to 2007, he played for Udinese.  Then, he had another long career with Napoli.  

GK: Salvatore Sirigu (Nuoro, Sardinia)
He was widely considered the future of Italy's goalkeeper position.  At the time of writing, he plays paris St. Germaine.
GK: Franco Tancredi (Abruzzo)
He was long-time keeper for Roma.  He played for them between 1977 and 1990. He went to the WC Finals in 1986.

RB: Massimo Oddo (Abruzzo)
He was a product of AC milan academy, but he made his name with Lazio, where he played from 2002 and 2007.  He eventually returned to Milan in 2007. He also played for Napoli, Bayern Munich and Verona.

CB: Fabio Cannavaro (Campania)
Cannavaro was capped 138 times. He was the captain and perhaps, the best Italian player of the 2006 World Cup team.  He was named the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year, and won the Ballon d'Or award in 2006 which made him the third defender to win the award. He started his career with Napoli and had spells with Parma, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.
Fabio Cannavaro

LB/CB: Felice Gasperi(Abruzzo)
He played for Italy during the 1920's, winning a Bronze medal at the 1928 Olympics.

SW: Ciro Ferrara (Campania)
He was considered one of the best defenders in the world during his prime.  However, his career with the Azzurri was limited by the same period with  Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Mauro Tassotti, Pietro Vierchowod, Riccardo Ferri, Giuseppe Bergomi, Gianluca Pessotto, Paolo Maldini, and in latter years, stars like Fabio Cannavaro, and Alessandro Nesta.  For club football, he played nearly a decade for Napoli during Duego Maradona's years before moving to Juvnetus.  At Juventus, he won 6 scudettis and a single Champions' League.

CB: Marco Materazzi (Apulia)
He was highly controversial defender in his prime.  He was remembered for the headbutt incident with Zidane at the WC Finals in 2006.  His best club football was played with Inter Milan.  He won 6 straight scudettis with them and a single Champions' League.
Marco Materazzi 

LB: Giuseppe Pancaro(Calabria)
He was a part of Lazio's Serie A winning team in 2000. He also played for Milan.  He arned 19 caps for Italy.

LB: Francesco Coco (Sicily)
He was a part of the Azzurri at Japan/Korea 2002. His longest stints were with Inter Milan and AC Milan.

DM: Gennaro Gattuso(Calabria)
He was a highly regarded destroyer in his prime. He spent 13 years with AC Milan, forming a famous partnership with Andreas Pirlo. He also played for Rangers, Perugia and Sion. He won two Champions' League with the club.  For the Azzurri, he earned 73 caps.  He went to three World Cup Finals, winning the 2006 WC Finals. 
Gennaro Gattuso

CM: Fernando De Napoli (Campania)
He was a part of the successful Napoli side that also featured Diego Maradona.  He won the scudetto in 1987 and 1990, the Coppa Italia in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1989, and the Supercoppa Italiana in 1990.

CM: Antonio Juliano (Campania)
He played with Napoli between 1962 and 1978.  He went to three WC Finals: 1966, 1970 and 1974, but only played one match.

RW/LW:  Franco Causio (Apulia)
He capped 63 times.  He was a part of the Azzurri at Euro 1980 and then, the World Cup in 1982.  He played 11 years for Juventus between 1970 and 1981.   During a highly successful period with the club, he won the scudetto six times, as well as winning a Coppa Italia, and an UEFA Cup. He also reached the European Cup final with Juventus during the 1972–73 season

AM: Stefano Fiore (Calabria) 
He gained recognition with Parma during the late 1990's.  He won two UEFA Cup with them.  Later, he played with Udinese and Lazio. He earned over 30 caps between 2000 and 2004 in period when Italy had many great attackers.

AM: Gianfranco Zola (Sardinia)
He played with Diegoi Maradona at Napoli as a young player. He played for Parma between 1993 and 1996, winning the 1995 UEFA Cup with Tomas Brolin, Fernando Couto, Faustino Asprilla and Stefano Fiore. He moved to Chelsea in 1996 and won the FWA Footballer of the Year.  He only played 35 times for Italy due to overcrowding of attack midfielders during his prime.

FW/AM: Fabio Quagliarella (Campania)

He started his career with Torino, but played for various clubs in Italy.  He was a part of Euro2008 and the WC Finals in 2010.  

FW: Antonio Di Natale (Campania)
He played 5 seasons with Empoli before siging with Udinese, where his career took off.  He was the Seria A top scorer for two seasons: 2010 and 2011. He only played 42 times for Italy.  He was a key player at the WC Finals in 2010. He also went to Euro 2008 and 2012.

FW: Antonio Cassano (Puglia)
He was controversial figure known to have clashes with managers, teammates, etc.  He made a big move to Roma as a 19 years old as one of Italy's brightest young players.  Initially, he found successes with the club, but clashes with Fabio Capello.  he would play for Real Madrid, Sampdoria, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Parma with mixed results.  He gained his caps in 2003, but he was in and out of the players' pool.
Antonio Cassano 

ST: Toto Schillaci (Sicily)
He started with Messina at home before moving to Juventus.  He was a relatively, unknown player at the beginning of Italia 1990. He started off as a substitute in the first two matches, where he scored decisive goals.  He became a starter at the third match.  He went on to form a great partnership with Roberto Baggio.  He scored 5 goals and finished as the top scorer.
Toto Schillaci
ST: Vincenzo Iaquinta (Calabria) 
Her made a name as the offensive partner of Antonio Di Natale.  He played for Juventus between 2007 and 2013.  He was a part of Italy's WC winning team in 2006.
ST: Mario Balotelli (Sicily)
Born in Sicily of Ghanian parents.  He was adopted by an Italian family of Jewish background.  He is known for his disciplinary problems with different clubs in his career.  He was considered one of Italy's brightest young stars.  He played with Inter Milan, Manchester City, AC Milan and now, Liverpool.

ST: Vincenzo Montella (Campania) 
His best years were spent with Roma, where he scored many, important goals, despite having conflicts with Coach Fabio Capello.  He went to Euro 2000 and the WC Finals in 2002, but saw limited action.
Vincenzo Montella 

Honorable Mention 
Ciro Immobile (Campania), Fabio Quagliarella (Campania), Giuseppe Galderisi(Campania), Leonardo Costagliola(Puglia).

Squad Explanation
  • I do believe that Mario Balotelli is overrated, but he got better name recognition than Ciro Immobile (Campania), Fabio Quagliarella (Campania) and Giuseppe Galderisi(Campania). 
  • Simone Perrotta was born in England to parents from Cosenza, Calabria.
  •  Three of the bad boys of Italian football are on this team: Marco Materazzi, Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli.  Cassano did not live up to his talents. Balotelli is following his footsteps.
  • A few players were unlucky to live in a period where there are fierce competition for their positions.  Morgan Da Sanctis, Gianfranco Zola, Stefano Fiore and Ciro Ferrara wuld have a different international career if they were born in a different era.
Starting lineup
Formation: 4-2-1-3
  • At his very best, Cassano could be one of the best in Italy.  Fiore was the alternative.
  •  Sirigu has not done enough to be the starter yet.

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