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Juventus' greatest XI of all-time

Will, any of today's starting XI make it onto the list?
Will, any of today's starting XI make it onto the list?
Ethan Patrick Kovalan

Juventus are without doubt one of the world's most successful European clubs of all-time, winning two Champions Leagues, three Europa Leagues, two Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, and one Cup Winners' Cup. Along with this, the black-and-white side are the most affluent in Italy, having won a staggering thirty-three league trophies.

Along with their many trophies, the black-and-white club has had some of the best players who have ever graced the football field, from Giampiero Boniperti and John Charles in the 1950s to Alessandro Del Piero and Gianluigi Buffon in recent years; this can make choosing the best XI for the Old Lady a very hard task.

In commemoration of their 8th straight Serie A win this season, here is Juventus' greatest XI of all-time.


Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (2001-2018)

Gigi Buffon is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all-time
Gigi Buffon is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all-time

Who else could it be? Gianluigi Buffon, following his world record €53 million move from Parma, has been outstanding for Juventus, racking up 9 Serie A titles.

He is characterized by his leadership on the pitch, as well as his cat-like reflexes, and excellent positioning, which has led him to be widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all-time. It is an understandable title when you consider that he has been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record 12 times, and the Worldβ€˜s Best Goalkeeper of the past 25 years, by the IFFHS.

In addition to his on-field performances, Buffon is one of the few players that stayed at Juventus after the Caliciopoli scandal in 2006, where the club was relegated to Serie B. This in itself cemented him as a legend, but having also been one of the best keepers ever certainly merits his inclusion in the list.

Alternative: Dino Zoff (1972-1983)

Defenders:

Right-back: Lilian Thuram (2001-2006)

Thuram was an unstoppable force on the pitch
Thuram was an unstoppable force on the pitch

Unarguably France's best right-back of all-time, Lilian Thuram was one beast of a player - an extremely physical and dominant player on the pitch, known for his strength and outstanding physical, as well as his pace and stamina. In addition to this, he was very tactically, and technically elegant, and frequently ran up and down the flank.

Using his wide variety of skills, Thuram played a pivotal role in Juventus' Serie A win in both 2002 and 2003. Additionally, The Philosopher had stellar performances in the Old Lady's 2002-03 Champions League campaign, taking them to the final, where they eventually lost. He managed over 200 appearances with the club up till his departure in 2006.

Alternative: Gianluca Zambrotta (1999-2006)


Right Centre-back: Ciro Ferrara (1994-2005)

Ferrara was one of the best defenders in the world in his prime
Ferrara was one of the best defenders in the world in his prime

Ryan Giggs referred to Ciro Ferrara as "one of the toughest defenders [he's] ever played against", an understandable claim if you've seen him play. A very elegant yet aggressive defender, Ferrara is well-remembered for his composure, athleticism, tackling prowess, technical skills, and ability on the ball (and air).

However, he is probably best remembered for scoring the first goal in Juventus' penalty shootout win in the 1996 Champions League final.

Considered one of the best centre-backs of his generation, the former Italy captain was a regular starter for Juventus from 1994 until 2005, when a plague of injuries cut his career short.

Alternative: Claudio Gentile (1973-1984)


Left Centre-back: Gaetano Scirea (1974-1988)

Scirea is arguably the best
Scirea is arguably the best "libero" of all-time

Arguably the greatest "libero", or sweeper as we call it today, Gaetano Scirea was an impenetrable wall at his prime, and the linchpin of Giovanni Trapattoni's remarkable team of the late 70s to early 80s. Tactically and technically intelligent, Scirea was an amazing blend of offensive and defensive skills; he was everything you'd want in a centre-back.

In addition to this, he was the undisputed leader in every team he played, being an emotionally disciplined, calm, and mentally strong presence for both Juventus and the Italian national team.

Winning 7 Serie A titles, a Champions League, and a FIFA World Cup, he won everything with both club and country, before he suddenly died from a car crash at 36.

Alternative: Giorgio Chiellini (2005-)


Left-back: Antonio Cabrini (1976-1989)

Cabrini was a huge asset to Juventus and helped them win the Champions League
Cabrini was a huge asset to Juventus and helped them win the Champions League

Antonio Cabrini might be best known for missing a penalty in the 1982 World Cup final against West Germany, but this is unfair, as he is, without doubt, the best left-back in Italian history. He was very consistent and played almost 300 games in his 13 years playing in Turin.

With Juventus, Cabrini was instrumental in winning the European Cup, the modern equivalent to the UEFA Champions League, in 1985. Cabrini's attacking attributes: his eye for goal, superb dribbling, and accurate crosses enabled him to redefine the fullback position, being one of the first players to introduce an attacking dimension to the position.

Cabrini was a huge asset to both Juventus and Italy's defence, and his skill considerably helped both teams win 6 Serie A titles and the 1982 FIFA World Cup respectively.

Alternative: Fabio Grosso (2008-2012)

Midfielders:

Central Defensive Midfielder: Giuseppe Furino (1969 - 1984)

Furino was a tactical mastermind for the Old Lady
Furino was a tactical mastermind for the Old Lady

Every football team needs a person to control the tempo of the game at any given moment, and for Juventus in most of the 70's and 80's, this man was Giuseppe Furino. Short but tenacious and tactically versatile, Furino is with no doubt one of the best defensive midfielders of all-time.

The Italian was an aggressive, hard-working, and hard-tackling ball-winner, whose main attributes were his pace, stamina, and his outstanding vision. In addition to this, he had superior technical skills which enabled him to run the ball down the field frequently.

Furino played a key role in the Old Lady's UEFA Cup win in 1977, where he won Man of the Tournament, and in the 1970 edition of the FIFA World Cup, where he helped Italy advance to the finals, before being beaten by the unstoppable Brazil in the finals of the tournament. He was also crucial in each of Juventus' 8 title wins between 1972 and 1984.

Alternative: Luis Monti (1930 - 1939)


Left Central Midfielder: Roberto Baggio (1990 - 1995)

Baggio's vision was exquisite, and unmatched on the pitch
Baggio's vision was exquisite, and unmatched on the pitch

Considered one of the greatest footballers to ever step foot on the field, Roberto Baggio is without a doubt a once-in-a-generation talent, that was a sight to behold in the early 90's, when he played a key role in Juventus' midfield.

When he first started for the Turin club, Baggio was not liked by most fans, as they did not see him as a viable replacement for the legendary Michel Platini (who we'll come to in a bit), after Juventus bought the player from Fiorentina for Β£8 million, a world-record transfer fee at the time, and inherited the number 10 shirt worn by the aforementioned Platini. It did not help that he stated publicly that "Deep in [his] heart, [he] will always be purple", the color of Fiorentina.

Despite initially stirring the pot though, he quickly won the hearts of Juve fans, scoring 115 goals in 200 appearances for the Italian giants, as well as becoming captain in his third year at the club.

He left the club after five years of service in 1995, having led Juventus to a Scudetto, the UEFA Cup and a Coppa Italia, through his leadership, vision, and playmaking ability, as well as his skills in creating and scoring goals for his team.

Alternative: Edgar Davids (1997 - 2004)


Right Central Midfielder: Pavel Nedved (2001 - 2009)

Nedved was an incredibly well-rounded midfielder for Juventus
Nedved was an incredibly well-rounded midfielder for Juventus

A man who worked tirelessly on the pitch, Pavel Nedved is perhaps the most complete midfielder on this list. His skillset included: his signature cross from the wing, powerful shot from distance, exceptional dribbling ability, and pin-point accurate passing.

However, his most extraordinary attribute may be his mentality; Nedved would work endlessly on the pitch, leading the attack, while also contributing in defence, with his trademark sliding tackle.

Having intially been the replacement for another Juve legend, Zinedine Zidane, Nedved had tremendous shoes to fill, but he was able to deliver, arguably surpassing Zidane as the club's greatest midfielder in the past 30 years.

Winning both the Serie A and Coppa Italia twice in his career, Nedved was world-class during his time in Juventus, even winning the Ballon d'Or in 2003, following his stellar season, where he single-handledly dismantled Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final.

Alternative: Didier Deschamps (1994 - 1999)


Central Attacking Midfielder: Michel Platini (1982 - 1987)

Platini had a peerless presence on the field, with unmatched elegance on the ball
Platini had a peerless presence on the field, with unmatched elegance on the ball

Michel Platini may be most well-known for his recent actions that have gotten him banned from football as UEFA President, but in his prime, he was unstoppable.

With unmatched elegance and vision on the ball, Platini is one of the finest playmakers to have ever played the game. Given the nickname Le Roi, or 'the King' in French due to his peerless presence on the field, he was the heart of the Juve midfield throughout the 1980s, scoring 68 goals from his 147 appearances, despite his lack of an notable physical attributes.

As Juventus' fabled number 10, he won two Serie A titles in 1984 and 1986, as well as a European Cup in 1985 - his three consecutive seasons as top-scorer in Serie A is a testament to his footballing genius, as he usually played in behind the second striker for Juventus.

Alternative: Zinedine Zidane (1996 - 2001)

Forwards:

Center Forward: John Charles (1957 - 1962)

Charles was a gentle, unstoppable force for the Bianconeri.
Charles was a gentle, unstoppable force for the Bianconeri.

Standing at 6 foot-2 and weighing 88 kg, John Charles was an unmissable presence on the pitch. Nicknamed Il Gigante Buono, or the 'Gentle Giant' in Italian, because he was never sent off, or even cautioned in his 25-year football career.

Charles, along with other club legends, Omar Siviori and Giampiero Boniperti, made up the Holy Trident, which penetrated defences all around Europe. His strength, pace, and a deadly shot was instrumental in Juventus' tremendous success in the late-1950's, winning the league thrice, and the Coppa Italia twice in his five years at the club.

A man of many talents, Charles may be the most well-rounded footballer ever, with world-class ability to play in both the centre-back and centre-forward position. Sir Bobby Robson called Charles "one of the greatest men ever to play the game", and with such high praise, John Charles immediately makes it on this list.

Alternative: Giampiero Boniperti (1946 - 1961)


Centre Forward: Alessandro del Piero (1993 - 2012)

Del Piero is the embodiment of Juventus, and arguably its greatest player
Del Piero is the embodiment of Juventus, and arguably its greatest player

We end this list with the greatest Juventus player of all-time, Alessandro Del Piero himself. Having appeared for the Bianconeri 777 times, a club record, Del Piero is the embodiment of Juventus. Scoring 346 goals in the process, Del Piero had unmatched skill on the pitch.

A hardworking and tactically versatile player, he was capable of playing anywhere in the front line, due to his creativity, dribbling ability, deadly shot, and hawk-like vision.

He spent 11 of his 19 years at the club as captain, and won a load of accolades in the process; Del Piero won the Serie A 6 times, 4 Supercoppa Italiana titles, and the UEFA Champions League once. Along with that, he was instrumental in Italy's 2006 FIFA World Cup win, cementing his place as one of the greatest players to have ever played for Italy.

His career was one of many ups-and-downs, but he will forever be remembered as one of Juventus' most gifted and loyal players ever.

Alternative: David Trezeguet (2000 - 2010)

How the XI looks:

Juventus' Best XI Ever
Juventus' Best XI Ever

The starting XI, as stated in this list, is shown above. With Gaetano Scirea's peerless leadership, this squad is well-balanced, with the aforementioned Scirea and Ciro Ferrara towering in the defense, with Giuseppe Furino dropping back when needed, while Gianluigi Buffon stands in goal. Pavel Nedved and Roberto Baggio are also useful in defense, with their workrate and incredible stamina, while John Charles is a world-class center-back in his own right.

The attack is nearly unstoppable, with Lilian Thuram and Antonio Cabrini making runs across the wing, while the midfield trio of Pavel Nedved, Roberto Baggio, and Michel Platini lead the attack across the middle of the pitch. Additionally, John Charles and Alessandro Del Piero stand near the goal, supporting the build-up, while also being clinical in goal.

Considering that Juventus are such a legendary club, it makes sense that they have such a wonderful all-time XI to show for it.

Edited by Debjyoti Samanta

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