Whenever Italian football becomes the topic of conversation, it does not take long for defences and defenders to be discussed. No country in the world is as intrinsically linked to that end of the field, no league more stereotyped as boring and negative. While the peninsula has clearly produced some sensational attacking talent, there is little doubt that some of the finest stoppers in the world were also born there.
Even from the early days of football, the Azzurri could always rely on some iconic names to deny opponents, often by whatever means necessary. It is a tradition that – outside of Juventus – has arguably slowed in the modern age, but the most famous Italian teams have always boasted top class defenders.
Here at Football Whispers we decided to list the five best in Italy’s long history, a difficult task that prompted much debate and more than a few arguments over who would make the final cut. Silverware is essential for anyone to make this list, but tangible success is not enough as other factors such as longevity, legacy and overall approach were also considered before the final lineup was decided.
Over the next five days we will be revealing the entire list, building up to the nation’s greatest ever defender on Saturday October 8.
Defender No. 5 – Beppe Bergomi
Defender No. 4 – Alessandro Nesta
Defender No.3 – Paolo Maldini
Defender No.2 – Franco Baresi
Defender No.1 – Gaetano Scirea