10 greatest Italian players of all time
The Azzurri are widely considered to be one of the best national teams in world football, but their fall from grace in the last few years has been truly shocking.
They are the second most successful team in the history of the FIFA World Cup with 4 titles to their name, having even won consecutive titles in 1934 and 1938.
After winning it for the fourth time in 2006, they were knocked out in the group stage in both 2010 and 2014, marking their worst ever campaigns since 1974. To make matters worse, they humiliatingly failed to qualify this year, as they were sent packing by Sweden in the playoffs.
Thanks to their ageing group of legendary stalwarts, many of whom called time on their tenure in the national team after the two-legged defeat to Sweden, new Italy boss Roberto Mancini will have a huge task on his hands.
Even as Italian football takes its next big step towards a future without Buffon, without Chiellini, and several other superstars, we take a look at the 10 best players to have donned the blue shirt.
#10 Alessandro del Piero
Possibly the most technically gifted Italian player of all time, del Piero operated mainly as a deep-lying forward throughout his career.
Having barely established himself in Padova's senior team in Serie B, del Piero was scouted and signed by Juventus for a mere €2.58 million in 1993.
Over 19 incredible seasons in Turin, he won 6 Serie A titles, 1 Coppa Italia and 1 Champions League title. He also won league titles in 2005 and 2006, later revoked thanks to the Calciopoli scandal.
As part of a star-studded squad that consisted of Buffon, Trezeguet, Nedved and Chiellini among others, del Piero top-scored for Juventus as the Turin giants stormed through the second division to earn an immediate promotion to Serie A in 2007.
He is the 10th most capped player for Italy, with 91 caps. He scored 27 goals for them, including a semi-final goal in a 2-0 win against Germany in the 2006 World Cup. He also scored a penalty in the shootout against France in the final.
After representing Sydney FC and Delhi Dynamos towards the end of his career, del Piero announced his retirement in 2015.