Man United Target De Rossi & The 10 Best Players In Italy

Our Italian football expert runs the rule over the league and counts down the eleven best players in Serie A...
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Man United Target De Rossi & The 10 Best Players In Italy

1. Francesco Totti

Still the king of all he surveys and now in his second decade in the top flight, the AS Roma captain is second in the all-time Serie A goalscoring charts with 227 goals and counting but he can also set them up and more importantly at almost 37 he still has an unflinching loyalty to his old-town club. Two-footed, supreme vision and physically imposing, a move to AC Milan or Real Madrid a decade or so ago would no doubt brought with it a trophy-laden career and a Ballon d’Or. However, the 2006 World Cup winner could yet a enjoy final swansong in Brazil next summer.

2. Mario Balotelli

He’s big, he’s bad and he’s back in Italy with a bang. There is no doubting Super Mario’s class and his 13 goals in 14 games for AC Milan from the turn of the year fired the Rossoneri into third spot when mid-table looked on the cards. A return to the bosom of his family has curtailed some of his more attention-grabbing behavior and it is defenders that he is now tormenting. Yet to miss a penalty in his career -20 from 20 - and favourite to land the Capocannoniere crown this year as the league’s top goalscorer.

3. Andrea Pirlo

Still the pass-master supreme, dancing around the middle of the pitch, keeping Juventus and Italy ticking over. The conductor has been at the top of his game for the last decade and incredibly AC Milan felt he was surplus to requirements a few years ago so he joined the Old Lady and led her to two consecutive titles. Will make his final international bow in Brazil but even at 34 has a season or two left at the top level.

4. Carlos Tevez

May have had his problems at Manchester City but so far he has been an angel at Juventus so far until he gets on the pitch and the devil in him tears defences to pieces. The Argentine’s all-action style and eye for goal - with two already in the league - has won over Antonio Conte and his team-mates alike. Could be that missing link that fire Juve to Champions League success.

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5. Marek Hamsik

With the whole of Naples in on the open secret that Edinson Cavani would leave in the summer, a new team leader was already emerging in the shape of the extremely spikey-haired midfielder. A dymanic player at both ends of the pitch but bursting forward into the opposition penalty is where the real damage is done where he can score or set them up. Was the league’s top assist man last year with fourteen.

6. Daniele De Rossi

A World Cup winner at 23 and now at 30 the defensive-midfield lynchpin for both Italy and AS Roma. Like Francesco Totti, a Roman through and through who feels each win or defeat as keenly as any fan. Combines heart and skill and formidable aerial power that it is no wonder Roma laughed off Manchester United’s 12million euro offer on the last day of the transfer window.

7. Stephan El Shaarawy

At 20, set to be the next best thing to come out of the Italian league, possessing the raw pace and goal-finishing ability that encouraged AC Milan to snap him up as a 17-year-old. Already an Italy regular and on-pitch foil to Mario Balotelli he could yet outshine his more illustrious team-mate. At his most dangerous out wide on the left where he can then cut deep into the heart of the opposition defence.

8. Ricardo Kakà

Back at AC Milan after a less-than-successful four-year hiatus at Real Madrid, Ricky will be seeking one last hooray in Serie A and with it a spot in Brazil’s World Cup squad. However, he will be forever remembered has the gangly youth who strode through defences in his Rossoneri prime, landing the a Champions League and Ballon d’Or along the way.

9. Gianluigi Buffon

Recently joined Fabio Cannavaro as Italy’s all-timed most capped player with 136 appearances, the Juventus and Azzurri captain has had a stellar career since making his international debut as an 19 year old back in 1997. Now captain for both club and country, Gigi is still keeping the top strikers at bay and the younger pretenders on the bench.

10. Javier Zanetti

At 40, the old war horse is returning from what should have been a career-ending Achilles ligament rupture but the Inter captain still as a few more miles left to add to his over-700 games in Italy. Currently second to the legend who is Paolo Maldini in Serie A appearances (603), he is an example to all players on professionalism over his 18 years at the Nerazzurri where he has won five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia trophies, the Uefa Cup and the Champions League.

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