The Premier League is widely regarded as the toughest among the top five leagues in Europe. Due to the presence of heavyweights like Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea among others, the Premier League is also extremely unpredictable.
Since its inception in 1992, the Premier League has always managed to attract top talent and managers alike. The Premier League still generates huge hype every year which is why they have seen a sensational rise in their craze over the years. Players are eager to play in the English top flight and achieve fame through their performance.
Italy has been home to many legendary players over the years. Italy has won four World Cup titles in its history, which makes them one of the most successful national teams in football. However, there are Italian legends who never featured in the Premier League during their famed careers.
Without further ado, let's take a glance at
Top 5 Italian players to have never played in the Premier League
#5 Andrea Pirlo
Known for his superior intelligence and playmaking, Andrea Pirlo remains one of the greatest deep-lying playmakers of all time. The Italian midfielder was a pivotal part of the Italian side which won the World Cup in 2006, bagging the highest number of assists in the tournament. Pirlo's best performance came in the final of that World Cup against France and was rightly judged the Man of the Match.
Pirlo's prowess in midfield was undisputed and his trophy-laden career is a testament to that fact. Since joining AC Milan in 2001, Pirlo spent ten seasons at the club, winning the Serie A title and Champions League twice respectively. The midfielder moved to Juventus in 2011 and helped the Old Lady win four Serie A titles consecutively in Turin.
Pirlo played 493 matches in the Serie A and ended up bragging 58 goals and 89 assists in the league. Not seeing Pirlo in the English top flight was a big miss for Premier League fans.
#4 Gianluigi Buffon
While the greatest debates rage on, Buffon is someone who has cemented his legacy as a serious contender in that debate. Since making his debut for the national team back in 1997, Buffon has made 176 appearances for Italy. The Italian goalie helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup, bagging the Golden Glove in that tournament for his tremendous performances.
Buffon's club career is also legendary, with the player winning eight Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year awards from a possible thirteen at his peak. The 43-year old played 683 games for Juventus, being a reliable presence between the sticks throughout the years. What was particularly amazing was his decision to stay at Juventus when the club were relegated due to controversies.
Buffon is yet to hang up his boots and remains a pivotal member of Parma. He is the greatest goalkeeper to have never featured in the Premier League alongside Iker Casillas.
#3 Roberto Baggio
Roberto Baggio is one of the greatest Italian forwards of all time. But more often than not, he is remembered for his infamous penalty miss against Brazil in the 1994 World Cup final. Despite that unfortunate miss, Baggio's storied career was nothing short of legendary.
After joining Fiorentina in 1985, Baggio rose to stardom through his performances and his distinctive 'divine' ponytail. Due to his exploits in front of goal, Baggio was called for a national team spot and made his debut for Italy in 1988. During his time with Fiorentina, Baggio scored 55 goals before joining Juventus for a then record fee in 1990.
Baggio kept delivering powerful displays for Juventus and Italy, winning World Player of the year in 1993. Baggio played for both AC Milan and Inter Milan and ended up with 205 goals in Serie A.
The only defender to win the FIFA World Player of the Year, Fabio Cannavaro is widely known as one of the all time greats. Italy has gifted us with many great defenders over time and Cannavaro is among the top of that list.
Known for his defensive strength, Cannavaro made his name during his seven seasons with Parma. He helped the team win two Coppa Italia titles, 1999 Supercoppa Italiana and 1999 UEFA Cup. After spending time with Inter Milan and Juventus, Cannavaro moved to Real Madrid. There he helped the Spanish giants win two consecutive league titles in 2007 and 2008.
Cannavaro's national career is a trophy laden with the Italian centre-back famously leading his team to World Cup glory in 2006. Italy's defense, under Cannavaro's leadership, kept five clean sheets throughout the tournament. Cannavaro's performance earned him the nickname of 'the Berlin Wall' and he won the silver ball for his exploits.
#1 Paulo Maldini
Paulo Maldini played a record 647 league games for AC Milan in his 25 seasons with the club, a Serie A record. Maldini was an integral part of all the conquering Milan side in the early 2000s. He won seven league titles and five European Cups, among other accolades with Milan.
No other left-back comes close when compared to the Italian when it comes to defensive prowess. Maldini was also extremely versatile, playing with undisputed excellence at centre-back for a major part of his career.
Maldini retired in 2009 after cementing his place in the history books and is now currently the director of AC Milan. There is no doubt that his absence is a huge miss for the Premier League.