Football Italiano’s writers return to talk all things Serie A. This week they thrash out a solution to Who is the best Italian player currently playing in Serie A?
Mark Jones: Is Amauri Italian or Brazilian for this question? Doesn’t matter, the award goes to his Juve team-mate Alessandro Del Piero.
Now 34, Del Piero has arguably played the football of his life in this campaign, with the highlight coming on a magical night at Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium when he struck two sublime goals. In possession of one of the finest free-kicks in the game, Del Piero has guided Juve with ingenuity and skill this season and must surely be back in Marcello Lippi’s plans soon. If Juventus has a chance of winning anything this season then it’s down to Del Piero, who, despite his age, could surely go on at the top level for even longer, something that surely everyone will want to see. Everyone except Serie A goalkeepers.
Chris Sloley: Despite the lure of foreign money, there is still a
stock of very good Italians plying their trade in Serie A.
Some young blood like Cagliari’s Roberto Acquafresca and Inter’s ‘young Facchetti’ Davide Santon are just two examples of the future hope of the peninsula on the global stage. However, two men who have long-lost a place in the national set-up have both impressed this time around, with Atalanta’s talisman Cristiano Doni being instrumental in the surprising rise of the Bergamaschi and forgotten finisher Marco Di Vaio doing his utmost to stop the rot at Bologna. However, the prize pick has to be the Old Boy of the
Old Lady – Alessandro Del Piero. Much akin to Doni, the importance to his team is never more apparent than when Juventus line-up without 34-year-old. The stalwart of la Vecchia Signora is having an Indian Summer that could see the Bianconeri coming within touching distance of lo Scudetto.
Mike Carre: I am a major fan of both Daniele De Rossi and Giorgio Chiellini but Gianluigi Buffon just takes it.
For me the Juventus man is the best keeper in world football and he is continuously producing the goods for both club and country. He must be worth 10-15 points a season for Juventus as he frequently pulls off match-winning saves for his side. But it is not just his ability to make world class saves that makes him Serie A’s finest – his level of consistency is astonishing and his mistakes count is restricted to just the one hand. When the Bianconeri splashed out a mind blowing £30 million for the former Parma stopper over seven years ago, many scoffed at such a huge sum for a goalkeeper, but few can argue with it now – after seven superb seasons, Buffon is now a Turin legend and has many years left in him yet.
Rich Oldale: There is a wealth of outstanding talent in Serie A and selecting the best player is always going to be a contentious decision.
It has been said a million times before, but the class of Alessandro Del Piero cannot go without a mention. Even at the ripe old age of 34 his brilliance is a cut above other Italians in the game. Antonio Cassano, a Juve target and potential replacement for il Duce has also caught the eye, but my vote has to go to Marco Di Vaio. The Bologna hit man has 16 goals to his credit this season and tops the list of Serie A goalscorers. The Rossoblu sit fourth from bottom and have only registered on 27 occasions this term, therefore Di Vaio has scored five more goals than the rest of the team put together and his achievements may just save them from the drop.
Ross Howard: Maldini is a football god and I’m unable to separate Totti and Del Piero, so my compromise between legendary status and a man currently at his peak is Gianluigi Buffon.
Famously keeping out the mighty Milan on his Serie A debut at seventeen, the world’s most expensive number one has won a World Cup, every domestic honour, and will surely finish his career as Italy’s most capped player. So good that it’s almost taken for granted, one seldom hears a debate on who is the best goalkeeper in the world. When a club has big money to spend, Buffon is named as a natural target. Just like Hoover got so big that it became a commonly used verb for vacuuming, the future could see the ex-Parma player’s name being used to describe the act of goalkeeping. Which would be understandable, however ridiculous sounding that word would be.
David Swan: Well I can safely ignore Inter’s squad for this question! My vote goes to Daniele De Rossi.
He has really stepped up for Roma and Italy over the past three years since the 2006 World Cup, where his immaturity at the time was evident. He is fairly obviously the next Giallorossi captain, once Francesco Totti retires, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will captain the Azzurri too at some point in his career. What is so equally exciting, and frustrating, about him is that I do not think we have seen the full capacity of his performances. I am of the opinion that he can be the Italian Steven Gerrard for both club and country. You only have to look at the number of goals he scored when he burst onto the international scene, and indeed his goals-to-caps ratio as it currently stands (7 goals in 43 caps), as evidence. His utilisation as a holding midfielder as he has progressed in an Italy shirt has limited that now, but I feel if he were given the freedom he could potentially be one of the best midfielders in the world.
Paolo Cabrelli: He’s a cry-baby, he’s arrogant, and he may well have serious psychological problems, but Antonio Cassano is an extremely gifted individual.
Now, at Sampdoria, Cassano has rediscovered what it means to play in a team. On a regular basis he shows incredible vision, displaying his unique range of audacious passing skills to devastating effect. If, as expected, he joins Juve next season, he will finally enjoy the adulation he craves. Right now, Marcello Lippi has no dynamic creativity in the national side, and it remains a mystery why he hasn’t called upon Cassano to bring the fantasy the Azzurri so desperately need. If it is because of his ‘personality’, then Lippi is admitting his own failures as a Coach – as only a tired manager would refuse to even attempt bringing the very best out of a potential genius. Quite simply, I cannot see Italy succeeding in 2010 without him.
Doug Drinkwater: I’ve been really impressed with Daniele De Rossi this season.
Truth be told, Roma have struggled in the league this season, but over the past two seasons De Rossi has developed into a fine all-action midfielder – a player whose importance to Giallorossi grows by the day. With Roma talisman Francesco Totti nearing the end of a distinguished – if volatile career – De Rossi will be expected to step into the 32-year old’s shoes as the leader of Spalletti’s men. Julio Baptista has compared the 25-year-old midfielder to Steven Gerrard, and it is not hard to see the comparisons. De Rossi has transformed himself into a fine all-action midfielder, and certainly a better one than the reckless untamed hot-head he used to appear as three years ago. His game has come on leaps and bounds in recent times, adding real quality in his distribution and in his ability to get forward and be an attacking threat – a fact illustrated by his brilliant headed goal in the 3-3 draw at Inter on the weekend.