Italy All-Time XI: Roberto Baggio stars in midfield with Andrea Pirlo

italy all-time xi: roberto baggio stars in midfield with andrea pirlo

Italy All-Time XI: Roberto Baggio stars in midfield with Andrea Pirlo

The Summer of Stars kicks off on FOX with the European Championship in Germany and the United States-hosted Copa América. Both tournaments will feature the world's best soccer players, but how many of them are all-time great players?

To answer that question, FOX Sports has put together 11 all-time international teams. Up next is Italy.

*All-time stats and records for individuals mentioned below refer to men's national team only

GK: Gianluigi Buffon

Caps: 176

Clean sheets: 62

Notable clubs: Juventus

Gianluigi Buffon made his senior team debut with Parma in 1995. After 1,100 professional career appearances — a feat only 14 other players have accomplished — Buffon hung up his boots in 2023 at the age of 45. That longevity, in addition to the 10 Serie A titles he won with Juventus, the 13 Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year awards he won from 1999 to 2017, and the World Cup he won with Italy in 2006, is why he's considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.

DEF: Franco Baresi

Caps: 81

Notable clubs: AC Milan

Franco Baresi won every trophy a player can at the club level, and he did it all with one club. In 20 years with AC Milan, including 15 years as the Rossoneri's captain, six La Liga titles, three Supercoppa Italianas and three UEFA Champions Leagues. Baresi was also part of the Italy team that won the 1982 World Cup, but he didn't make an appearance at the tournament.

DEF: Gianluca Zambrotta

Caps: 100

Notable clubs: Juventus, Barcelona, AC Milan

Known for his ability to play on both the left and right flanks, Zambrotta's offensive versatility was instrumental to Italy's triumph at the 2006 World Cup and was named to the FIFPro World XI, as well as the 2006 World Cup All-Star Team. At the club level, he won three Serie A titles: two with Juventus and one with AC Milan.

DEF: Fabio Cannavaro

Caps: 136

Notable clubs: Parma, Juventus, Real Madrid

Nicknamed "Il Muro di Berlino," which translates to "The Berlin Wall" in English, Cannavaro cemented his place among Italy's greatest defenders of all time at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. As Italy's captain, Cannavaro commanded the team from the back line and helped the Azzurri keep five clean sheets at the World Cup. Following the conclusion of the tournament, Cannavaro was awarded the Silver Ball as the World Cup's second-best player, but the real award came months later, when he was given the Ballon d'Or as the world's best player. He's one of three players to win the Ballon d'Or as a defender.

DEF: Paolo Maldini

Caps: 126

Notable clubs: AC Milan

Like his compatriot Baresi, Paolo Maldini was a Rossoneri for the entirety of his career, and though Baresi is one of the best center backs in AC Milan's rich history, Maldini was arguably the best. In 25 seasons with Milan, Maldini won 26 trophies, including seven Serie A titles and the Champions League five times. Following his retirement in 2008, Milan retired his No. 3. Maldini also captained Italy for eight years and is third all-time on Italy's caps list.

MID: Andrea Pirlo

Caps: 116

Notable clubs: AC Milan, Juventus

A true maestro in the midfield, Andrea Pirlo's career highlight reel is filled with passes that defy logic and free kicks that defy the laws of physics. His aesthetically impressive style of play made him one of the most iconic players of his generation. His list of achievements include six La Liga titles — four with Juventus and two with AC Milan — and two Champions Leagues, both with Milan. Pirlo also started every game of Italy's 2006 World Cup campaign and was named to the 2006 World Cup All-Star Team.

MID: Daniele De Rossi

Caps: 117

Notable clubs: Roma

Daniele De Rossi's legacy with Italy is complicated. While he's the joint highest-scoring midfielder in the history of the men's national team (27) alongside Roberto Baggio, he nearly cost Italy a World Cup in 2006 by elbowing United States forward Brian McBride in the face and earning a red card, as well as a four-match ban from FIFA. Fortunately for De Rossi, he made his return in the final as substitute and converted his penalty in Italy's shootout with France.

MID: Roberto Baggio

Caps: 56

Notable clubs: Fiorentina, Juventus, AC Milan

Arguably the most gifted attacking player Italy has ever produced, Roberto Baggio also has an argument as the greatest Italian player of all time — for any position — in large part due to his contributions in the World Cup. He's tied for Italy's all-time leading goalscorer at the World Cup (9) with Paolo Rossi and Christian Vieri, and he's the only Italian to score in three separate World Cups. Baggio's World Cup career would be almost flawless, but he infamously missed his penalty in the 1994 World Cup final against Brazil. Despite this, Baggio finished third in FIFA World Player of the Year voting in 1994 and fifth place in 1995.

FW: Alessandro Del Piero

Caps: 91

Notable clubs: Juventus

Alessandro Del Piero is Mr. Juventus. He has the most all-time appearances for Juventus as well as the most goals for the historic Italian club. During his 19 seasons with Juventus, 11 of which he spent as captain, he won six Serie A titles and a Champions League title in 1996. Del Piero's crowning achievement, however, was at the international level, where he won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 after converting his penalty in the shootout against France.

FW: Paolo Rossi

Caps: 48

Notable clubs: Juventus

The 1982 World Cup belonged to Paolo Rossi. He scored six goals en route to Italy's triumph over West Germany in the final, which earned him the Golden Ball and Golden Boot. Only Brazil's Garrincha and Argentina's Mario Kempes have ever achieved that feat; Rossi is the only European.

FW: Francesco Totti

Caps: 58

Notable clubs: Roma

Francesco Totti is a legend in Rome, having spent 28 years at Roma, including 25 with the senior squad. He holds the record for most goals (307) and appearances (786) with Roma. He's also the second-highest goalscorer in Italian league history with 250. He won the Serie A title with Roma in 2001. He was also a key part of Italy's 2006 World Cup run, even starting in the final.

Honorable mentions

Giancarlo Antognoni, Marco Materazzi, Alessandro Nesta, Gianfranco Zola, Giuseppe Meazza

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