Over the years, there have been so many legendary Italian Defenders. Italy has probably produced the best defenders of all-time. However, that’s up for debate. Anyways, here are my top four favourite Italian Defenders of all-time!
4. Fabio Grosso
Fabio Grosso is probably one of the most underrated defenders that I’ve seen. Not only was his positioning great when he defended, but also his offensive prowess. He was a fast defender who could fling nice crosses into the opponent’s box while tracking back effectively. I’d say that his style is similar to modern fullbacks such as Alphonso Davies, Achraf Hakimi, and even Raphael Varane to a certain extent. Although, Varane is a Center back, not a full-back. Also, another huge reason he’s one of my favourite Italian Defenders of all-time was his performance in the 2006 World Cup. In that tournament, he scored a crucial goal against Germany in the Semifinals. However, his most notable moment was when he scored the winning penalty against France that gave them the World Cup Trophy. To this day, that is still my favourite Italian Soccer moment!
3. Fabio Cannavaro
At number three comes Fabio Cannavaro! Aside from him being a crucial part of Italy winning the 2006 World Cup, I admire his style of play. He was fairly short for a centre-back, as he’s 5’9″. Despite that, I admired his aggressiveness. If you were an attacker, it was very difficult to avoid getting tackled hard by Fabio Cannavaro. A big part of that was that he could read plays like the back of his hand and anticipate what would happen faster than the majority of defenders. I wouldn’t say he was spectacular going forward. But, what makes him one of my favourite Italian Soccer defenders was his fierceness. When he made his many tackles, opposing players could feel them. That’s one of the big reasons why even before the match, opposing attacking players were scared of facing Fabio Cannavaro. In my view, Giorgio Chiellini is the modern player that most resembles him, style-wise. However, Chiellini is significantly taller.
2. Alessandro Nesta
Similar to Fabio Cannavaro, I admired Alessandro Nesta because of his aggressiveness. However, unlike Fabio Cannavaro he’s 6’2″. If you were an attacker in the box against Nesta, chances are you wouldn’t get many good chances. That was evident when Alessandro Nesta gave a hard tackle on Lionel Messi in the box. Messi thought he was going to score, but then Nesta made a good tackle to prevent that from happening! Not many players could beat Nesta in the box. His tackles were fierce, he was very strong and his aerial ability was next to none. At AC Milan, he was joined by the likes of Maldini, Zambrotta, Cafu and other legendary defenders. So, you could imagine how many opponents didn’t want to face the Rossoneri at that time! It’s tough to compare his style to any modern footballer. I guess Chiellini most replicates his style. Maybe, even Koulibaly as well.
1. Paolo Maldini
There’s no question that Paolo Maldini is arguably the best defender of all-time. He’s also my favourite Italian Defender of all-time. I also wrote about him being one of my favourite Serie A players of all-time. I admired him for several reasons but above all, his leadership ability. He was AC Milan and Italy’s captain for several years. He was a born leader! Of course, his ability to defend was above basically any other in the history of soccer. But, his leadership ability was just as great, in my view. He’s also one of the most decorated Italian Players ever. Not only did he win seven scudetti, but he also led AC Milan to five Champions League trophies. It’s very tough to pinpoint a player who has won that. Not even Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi have won that many domestic titles and Champions League yet. Paolo Maldini was on a different level from every defender on the pitch. Hopefully, he leads AC Milan back to the glory days as the technical director.
There you have it, this is my article on my top four favourite Italian Defenders of all-time. Like always, thank you for reading this article! I really do appreciate it.