Del Pierro, Totti, Maldini — some of the world’s best players excelled in the Serie A to make it one of the celebrated leagues in the world.
Let’s take a look at the best ten players to feature in Serie A all-time.
10. Franco Baresi
The Italian defender Franco Baresi played two decades with AC Milan, where he served as captain for 15 of them and earned 719 outings total. By the end of his career, he won the Scudetto six times and along with three European Cups.
9. Andrea Pirlo
The midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo catalyzed the Red and Blacks during their two Champions League victories in 2003 and 2007. A composed player, Pirlo made up for his lack of speed with his on-field intelligence, his ability to find space when dribbling, and his swift passing ability. He was also a free-kick master. Pirlo helped Italy achieve its 4th World Cup in 2006. Over 13 years with the national side, the midfield maestro earned 116 caps and scored 13 goals.
8. Diego Maradona
The Argentine striker captained the Napoli side for the majority of his seven-year tenure at the club. Above all, he led the team to its first-ever Serie A title in 1986/87 along with the League Cup. He also won the UEFA Cup and Supercoppa Italian as the skipper.
7. Javier Zanetti
Argentine defender Javier Zanetti made a whopping 858 appearances for the Inter Milan side, captaining Internazionale for 13 of his 19 seasons. He’s the most capped player ever for Inter Milan and retains the record for most appearances in Champions League history as a team captain.
A workhorse who’d rather lead by example than dazzle, Zanetti was instrumental in Inter’s bucket of trophies including a Champion League, a UEFA Cup, five league titles, 4 Copa Italia victories, 4 Super Copa trophies, and a Club World Cup.
6. Fabio Cannavaro
Considered a traitor by many Juventus fans for leaving the club due to the 2006 Italian football scandal, the stalwart defender excelled on the pitch. He won consecutive Scudetti in his first two years with the club, including a 2005 defender of the year. He returned to Juventus to little fanfare after his 3-year stint with Real Madrid, where he won the 2006 Ballon d’Or.
5. Gianluigi Buffon
Perhaps no one embodies the Juventus spirit more than Gianluigi Buffon, who made over 500 appearances in the Black and White kit. The dignified goalkeeper and former captain won nine Serie A titles, a Serie B title with Juventus in forced relegation, five Coppa Italia titles, and UEFA Europa League Cup. He set a league-best 21 clean sheets in the 2011-12 season and holds the record for clean sheets in Serie A.
4. Roberto Baggio
After starring at Fiorentina in the late 80s, Baggio moved on to rivals Juventus in 1990 where he continued his magic display. The prolific goal-scorer nailed 78 goals in 141 matches in Turin over five years, winning both the UEFA Cup and the Ballon d’Or in 1993. Despite his greatness, he missed out on a Champions League trophy and most famously, missed a penalty that gave Brazil the World Cup in 1994.
3. Alessandro Del Piero
Mr. Juventus Alessandro Del Piero made an astounding 705 appearances with the club, scoring 290 goals for the black and white. Captaining Juventus for 11 of his 19 years, he led Juventus back into the Serie A after the enforced relegation during the 2006-07 season. His silverware includes six Serie A championships, one Champions League, and one Coppa Italia.
2. Francesco Totti
Known as the ‘The Golden Boy’ or Gladiator, or simply the Captain which he became at 22-years-old and held for 20 years, Francesco Totti grew up in Rome destined to play for the Giallorossi side. The one-club man, he played a remarkable 786 games for Roma, spanning 25 years that saw him win the Serie A title, two Italian Cups, and two Supercoppa titles. His 250 goals place him as second in Serie A history.
1. Paolo Maldini
Considered one of the best defenders of all-time, Paulo Maldini finished third for the Ballon d’Or twice, once in 1994 and a second time nine years later. The one-club Italian was remarkably consistent, captaining AC Milan to five Champions League trophies and seven league titles in 25 historic years with AC Milan.