GK: Julio Cesar (Inter)
Julio Cesar was one of the best goalkeepers in the world at his peak and was part of the incredible Inter team that won the Treble. He makes this team, closely pipping Milan’s Nelson Dida and Parma legend Claudio Taffarel. Julio Cesar had everything, athleticism, positioning reflexes and intelligence.
RB: Cafu (Roma, Milan)
What do you say about Marcos Cafu? Perhaps the greatest right-back of all time, Cafu transformed the role into the attacking version that we know today. The ‘Pendolino’ was an apt nickname, as during his 163 appearances for Roma and his 119 for Milan he was like the commuter train that never stopped going up and down the right flank. He picked up seven major honours in Italy, always with a smile on his face and chewing gum in his mouth.
CB: Lucio (Inter, Juventus)
Lucio came to Italy to join Inter in 2009 and left in 2012. In that time, he won a Scudetto, the Coppa Italia (twice), the Champions League, two Supercoppa Italiana’s (one with Juventus where he played one game) and a FIFA Club World Cup. A colossal centre-back who is regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, it was only a shame he didn’t arrive earlier and stay longer.
CB: Aldair (Roma)
Aldair is the most capped foreign player in Roma’s history. He was rated so highly that when he left in 2003, they retired the club’s Number 6 shirt in honour of his 330 league appearances (although they brought it back in 2013). To win a Scudetto, a Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa with Roma is not an easy task, yet he achieved all this. He is one of the best foreign defenders to grace Italian soil.
LB: Branco (Genoa)
For fans of Italian football in the early 1990s, nothing was quite as exciting as seeing Branco line up for a free kick. Just take a look back at the one he nets against Parma in 1991. A superb defender who could also maraud forward, he was a full-back ahead of his time. He may have only stayed for two seasons at Genoa, but his goals were just as spectacular as the ones netted by Roberto Carlos at Inter, the man who just missed out here.
CM: Dunga (Pisa, Fiorentina, Pescara)
Between 1987 and 1993, Carlos Dunga was making himself known for Pisa, Fiorentina and then Pescara. It is in Florence where he is perhaps most fondly remembered, where he turned out 124 times in the Viola jersey. A deep-lying playmaker, the Brazilian had great technique and was tactically astute. He was not your typical South American midfielder, but every team needs a Dunga type player.
CM: Falcao (Roma)
Paulo Roberto Falcao is seen as one of the best players in Roma’s history. An elegant midfielder with sublime technique, he was the complete player. He could play both offensively or defensively and could also contribute to the goals. A leader on and off the pitch, he will forever be a legend for the Giallorossi, as he brought them two Coppa Italia trophies and the Scudetto in the 1982-83 season.
AMR: Kaka (Milan)
The fact that Zico missed out on this team because of Ricky Kaka says a lot. The Brazilian captivated Serie A and not just Milan, as he slalomed through some of the best defenders in the world, often finishing with style. Lifting the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year trophies in 2007, he delivered for Milan over a seven-year period (split by a move to Real Madrid). He won five major honours with Milan, but none more as important as the Champions League in 2007. He was a true great of the game.
AML: Ronaldinho (Milan)
There is an argument to say that Ronaldinho was the most talented player that ever walked the face of the earth and there are others who say his career is one of style over substance. Perhaps it is both, but between 2008 and 2011, the one place you would want to watch football was in Milan. He did struggle with fitness at times, but his crowning moment was when he lifted Milan back to the top by winning the Scudetto in 2011, so he just keeps Rivaldo out of this squad.
CF: Adriano (Inter, Fiorentina, Parma, Roma)
At his best Adriano was simply unplayable, his time at Inter is perhaps what many remember him for, as he was breath-taking, but spells at Fiorentina, Parma and Roma equally delivered some spectacular strikes. Suffering from depression and inconsistency, it is another story of what could have been, but for those moments when the ball nearly broke the back of the net, you thought you were watching the world’s best player.
CF: Ronaldo (Inter, Milan)
‘Il Fenomeno’ was just that. Phenomenal. Arguably, the greatest striker of all time, there was little like watching Ronaldo in full flight. Speed, technical ability, strength, finishing, what didn’t he have? Stable knees is the answer to that question. At Inter, he was impossible to stop and he netted 49 times in his 68 games with the only regret being those injuries. A spell at Milan also saw him recapture glimpses of his former self, but in the late 90s in particular, no defender in Serie A was safe.
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