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Ever wondered who are the most capped players in the history of the Italian first division (Serie A)?
The Italian Serie A is regarded as one of the most tactical and defensively sound league in the world, that home great clubs like Juventus, Milan, Inter Milan et al.
Since the league was founded, quite a number of incredible players have trod on the Italian fields with their respective talents week in, week out in their quest for league glory at the end of the season.
Here on Naijnaira, we’ll take you through 10 most capped Serie A players who have left an indelible mark on the history of the beautiful game in Italy.
(10) Roberto Mancini – (542 appearances)
Roberto Mancini is recognized in Italy both as a brilliant player and proficient manager, who stands amongst the most-capped Serie A players in the history of Italian football.
While actively playing he amassed 542 games and scored 156 goals at the top-level of Italian football, playing for Bologna and Sampdoria alongside Gianluca Vialli upfront.
As a player Mancini achieved phenomenal success, winning four Coppa Italia titles and the Scudetto in 1991 and a Cup Winners Cup in 1990 before reaching the European Cup finals in 1992 losing to Barcelona.
(9) Fabio Quagliarella – (551 appearances)
Quagliarella burst to prominence at Sampdoria and Udinese, but he journeyed around some of the best clubs in Serie A with Juventus and Napoli.
Though Quagliarella may not be revered as one of the greatest Italian footballers of all-time, however, he will undoubtedly be ranked as one of the best scorer in Italian football history having scored 181 goals.
The former Juventus forward won three Scudetto with the Old Lady between 2012 and 2014 and he also amassed 551 appearances in Seria A before he retired.
(8) Pietro Vierchowod – (563 appearances)
Vierchowod was a member of the Italian squad that won the 1982 FIFA World Cup and also made 563 Serie A appearances for Sampdoria, Juventus and AC Milan.
The rugged and elegant centre-back had a career that spanned across almost 20-years at the top-level of Italian football where he scored 38 goals as a defender.
Vierchowod was so good in his heyday that he was regarded as as complete defender, who is quite tough, intelligent, and very good in the air when contesting the aerial dwell.
(7) Samir Handanovic – (564 appearances)
When you think about Handanovic, what comes to mind is great positioning, agility, amazing reflexes, unwavering composure and leadership skill in between the sticks.
The Slovenian may not be Serie A’s most decorated goalkeeper, but he’s certainly one of the finest goalies to ever trod the league with a total number of 564 appearances.
The ‘Batman‘ is a three-time winner of the AIC Goalkeeper of the Year Award behind only Gigi Buffon, and he holds the league record for most career penalties saved (26).
(6) Dino Zoff – (566 appearances)
Legendary goalkeeper Dino Zoff is regarded as a beast in between the sticks in his heyday for the Azzurri’s, Udinese, Mantova, Napoli and Juventus.
Zoff was so good that he won six championships, a Coppa Italia and a UEFA Cup for the Bianconeri in his ten seasons of top-flight football with Juventus.
Internationally, Zoff garnered 112 caps for the Azzurri’s and in Serie A he also amassed 566 caps throughout his professional career playing in the division.
While the likes of Buffon, Maldini are ahead of him in terms of caps, however, he is one of only three goalkeepers to captain a team to a world title and also held the records for oldest player to play in Serie A
(5) Gianluca Pagluica – (596 appearances)
In an age where statistics and statistical analysis hasn’t started, he was doing the numbers in terms of his penalty saves and breathtaking performances for both national team and club.
While it is so rare for a goalkeeper to become a club legend just a few years into his professional career, Pagluica defies the odds and went on to become a legend at Sampdoria.
He retired in 2007 as one of the Seria A’s all-time record appearance maker as a goalkeeper (596) and a record (24) penalty saves in the league before Handanovic broke the record.
(4) Javier Zanetti – (618 appearances)
Longevity, breathtaking crosses, and brilliant defending was absolutely the hallmark of Zanetti’s career as a footballer both at the national and club level.
If there’s anything player who ticked all boxes in Serie A while playing for the Nerazzuri, it’s certainly the legendary Argentine defender for his longevity and leadership skill at Inter Milan.
Zanetti overtook club legend Beppe Bergomi as the team’s most-capped player in 2011, and further stretched his caps record in Serie A to a whopping 618 appearances, a great feat that inks his name on the lore of Italian football.
(3) Francesco Totti – (618 appearances)
Call him II Capitano or the symbol of Rome and you’ll not be wrong, simply because of how revered and honored Totti was at AS Roma throughout his stay and after he retired.
Totti led Roma to their solitary Scudetto in 2000-01 and a consecutive Coppa Italia titles in 2006-07 and 2007-08 as captain of the team since 1998 as young player till his early twenty (21) at the time.
Aside scoring a record 250 goals for the Giallorossi, he is also one of the most capped players in Serie A with a whopping 618 appearances before he bid farewell to the game.
(2) Paolo Maldini – (648 appearances)
Paolo Maldini is a one-club man who owns a bevy of records for both Milan and Italy at the highest-level of the game.
The legendary defender appeared in a record 902 games for Milan in all competitions, while his appearance record in Serie A stands at 648 for the Rossonerri.
He competed in a record eight Champions League finals, lifting the trophy five times and retired as seven time winner of the Scudetto, a Coppa Italia, five Supercopas, five UEFA Supercups and three Intercontinental/Club World Cup championships for Milan.
(1) Gianluigi Buffon – (658 appearances)
Gigi Buffon is arguably the finest goalkeeper Italian football has ever produced due to his great awareness, positioning, agility, and reflexes in the between sticks.
The legendary goalie announced himself to the world as the next big thing for Italian football in the shirt of Parma in 1995, when he made his debut and went on to become one of the game’s most celebrated shot-stoppers in world football.
Chief amongst Buffon’s numerous gifts is his longevity and ability to marshal his defense, which propelled him to have a beautiful career at the highest-level with a record appearances of 658 in Serie A.
This article was updated 3 months ago