“If I have to make a tackle I’ve already made a mistake”
– Paolo Maldini
The Italian brand of football always puts its priority on defense. History would testify, they have had teams that were impenetrable.
Defense first, everything else later is the cultural ethos deep-seeded in the Italian teams, and there is no question their code of football is feasible.
In fact, it’s not just feasible but thriving.
Because they have won 4 World Cups and 2 Euros, making them one of the most successful teams in the world.
Now just having a style of play doesn’t win you trophies, it needs to be materialized by talents who can live up to the code.
Today, we’ll put some of these generational talents under the microscope who lived up to the Italian ideology.
So, let’s figure out the best defenders Italy has produced!
Alessandro Nesta, who combined Italian brutality with German efficiency and Brazilian flair, was unquestionably one of the best defenders of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, if not the greatest of all time.
Nesta distinguished himself in a career spanning two decades with his great positioning, ability to read a game, excellent tackling, and elegance on the ball.
He had 10 successful seasons with Milan, where he further cemented his name as one of the world’s greatest defenders, putting up remarkable performances and collecting numerous personal and team honors, despite injury derailing his final years.
Scirea is one of only six football players to have won every international trophy for clubs awarded by FIFA and UEFA, and he is one of only nine players to have won all three major UEFA competitions while playing for Juventus.
Aside from a two-year stint at Atalanta, the renowned defender spent the majority of his career with Juventus, where he reached the pinnacle of his career.
He appeared in 550 games with the Bianconeri, assisting them to seven Serie A titles, two Italian Cups, one European Champion Clubs’ Cup, one UEFA Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, and one UEFA Super Cup.
Moreover, he has played in 78 caps for the Italian national team and won the 1982 World Cup.
Franco Baresi is widely regarded as one of the best Italian defenders of all time, as well as one of the best center-backs of all time.
He spent his whole 20-year career at AC Milan, where he captained for 15 years, played 714 games, and won multiple titles, including three European championships and six Serie A titles.
Baresi appeared in 81 games for the Italian national team, winning the 1982 FIFA World Cup.
Without a doubt, Paulo Maldini is the most amazing Italian defender of all time, and in some experts’ opinion, he is the best defender of all time.
He is an icon of AC Milan, having appeared in 901 games for the club, which is a club record. He spent 25-year career at Milan and won numerous titles, including seven Serie A titles and five European Championships.
Milan retired his number (3) after his retirement in 2009 as a tribute to his achievements and dedication throughout his 25 years at the club.
Maldini is unquestionably one of the best Italian defenders of all time.