Despite historically performing exceptionally well in the UEFA Champions League, Serie A clubs have fallen behind their English and Spanish counterparts in the 21st century. In the last 15 years, Italian sides have won just two Champions League crowns (AC Milan in 2007 and Inter Milan in 2010).
Notwithstanding their extended lean patch, AC Milan remain the second-most successful team in the history of the Champions League, with seven titles (behind Real Madrid's 13). Inter Milan (three-time champions) and Juventus (two triumphs) are also multi-time winners of Europe's most prestigious club competition.
Italian forwards haven't set the UEFA Champions League on fire in the 21st century
The Italian national team and Serie A are traditionally known for their defensive solidity, physicality and aggression.
So it isn't surprising to see that the last time an Italian player topped the Champions League scoring charts was nearly 25 years ago, when Alessandro Del Piero scored ten goals in 1997-98. AC Milan's win in 2007 was the most recent time the tournament's top scorer hailed from a Serie A team, with Kaka scoring ten times.
Nonetheless, numerous Italian strikers have consistently delivered the goods for their teams in the late 20th century. On that note, here's a look at the five highest Italian goalscorers in UEFA Champions League history:
#5 Simeone Inzaghi (15 goals in 31 appearances)
Inter Milan head coach and younger brother of legendary striker Filippo Inzaghi, Simone Inzaghi was a crafty forward himself and enjoyed a solid playing career. Most of his playing days were spent with Lazio, where he won seven trophies. That includes the memorable 1999-00 season when Lazio won the Serie A title, the Italian Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.
Inzaghi scored 55 goals in 196 games for Lazio, while his best performance in the Champions League came in 1999-00, when he scored nine times in 11 games.
He was capped thrice by Italy but never managed to find the net for the national side. Interestingly, Inzaghi is the first and only Italian player to have scored four goals in a single UEFA Champions League game.
#4 Francesco Totti and Sandro Mazzola (17 goals)
Fourth place on the list sees a tie between two one-club legends - Francesco Totti (785 games, 307 goals and 186 assists) of AS Roma and Sandro Mazzola (565 games and 162 goals) of Inter Milan.
Mazzola was the more prolific of the duo, taking 38 games to reach his tally of 17 goals, but Totti also provided 12 assists in his 57 UEFA Champions League fixtures. Mazzola, though, won the coveted trophy twice with Inter Milan (1964 and 1965) and also finished as the top scorer in the 1964 edition (seven goals, including two in the final against Real Madrid).
Totti never won the UEFA Champions League, although he did secure a Serie A title in 2001 with Roma. He finished as the league's top scorer in 2006-07 (26 goals).
The duo also achieved success on the international stage. Mazzola was part of Italy's Euro 1968 triumph, while Totti won the 2006 FIFA World Cup with the Azzurri. Totti scored nine times in 58 international games, while Mazzola netted 22 goals in 70 games for Italy.
#3 Jose Altafini and Marco Simone (24 goals)
Another tie for third involves two AC Milan veterans, both of whom won the UEFA Champions League on different occasions.
The legendary Jose Altafini played 235 games for AC Milan, scoring 150 times. That tally includes 14 goals in nine games at the 1962-63 European Cup, which was won by the Rossoneri.
He also played over 200 games for Napoli and more than 100 times for Juventus. Born in Brazil, Altafini was eventually granted Italian citizenship but only played a handful of games for the Azzurri. He ended his club career with 24 goals in 28 European Cup games.
Marco Simone won two UEFA Champions League titles, both with AC Milan (1990 and 1994).
Deployed as a secondary striker, he netted 75 goals and provided 36 assists in 260 games for the Rossoneri. Simone scored 24 goals and provided nine assists in 47 Champions League games, which also included appearances for PSG and Monaco.
#2 Alessandro Del Piero (42 goals in 89 appearances)
Juventus' all-time leading goalscorer, Alessandro Del Piero is the greatest player in the Bianconeri's history.
With 290 goals and 143 assists in 705 games for the Serie A giants, Del Piero has a record that is unlikely to be broken. Giampiero Boniperti is a distant second with 179 strikes.
Del Piero and Juventus won six Serie A titles together, as well as the 1996 UEFA Champions League. His best showing came in the 1997-98 edition when he scored ten goals and provided four assists in ten games, finishing as the tournament's top scorer.
He also enjoyed a successful career with Italy, scoring 27 goals in 91 games and winning the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
#1 Filippo Inzaghi (46 goals in 81 appearances)
One of the greatest goal poachers of all time, Filippo Inzaghi joins his younger brother on our list. Best known for his time with AC Milan (126 goals in 300 games), Inzaghi also excelled for Juventus (89 goals in 165 games).
The 2006 FIFA World Cup winner has two UCL titles to his name, both of which came with AC Milan (2003 and 2007). Known for his clever movement, lethal finishing, astute positioning and darting runs behind defences, Inzaghi mastered the art of playing on the shoulder of the last defender.
He took 81 games to reach his tally of 46 UCL goals and netted ten times in the 2002-03 edition, which Milan eventually won. The striker also scored 25 times in 57 games for Italy.