Best Serie A Midfielders of All Time
Serie A has had so many big stars in the past decades that it is difficult to write down; especially in the 2000s, the world's superstars wanted to play in Serie A.
In fact, everyone knows that Italy has been the birthplace of the great midfielders of history. There are many examples of players who were initially a young player, but with growing in Serie A, became one of the legends of football history and one of the Serie A greatest midfielders ever.
List of Best Ever Serie A Midfielders
In this article, we are going to focus on all-time best midfielders at Serie A and make a list of past and present superstars of the Serie A called “Best ever Serie A midfielders.”
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In the all-time best midfielders at Serie A list, you may notice a lack of important names such as Roy Costa, Kaka, Pavel Nedvěd, Wesley Sneijder and Dejan Stanković, etc. it worth noting we have tried to make the list of best Serie A midfielders of all time based on the players' background and history.
15. Marek Hamsik
Undoubtedly, the name of Mark Hamšík will be remembered for many years as one of the best midfielders in the history of Serie A. After Pavel Nedved retired from football, Hamsik spent 11 seasons in Italy and established himself as one of Napoli's legends.
Some may be skeptical about Marek Hamsik's presence on the list of all-time best midfielders at Serie A, but Hamsik, a true Napoli legend, is undoubtedly a great legend in Italian football.
14. Daniele De RossiDaniele De Rossi is in the list of all-time best Serie A midfielders, because he did not lose any quality even in the last days of his playing career. Nineteen years in Rome's starting line-up was a sign of the De Rossi's ability to play professional football.
De Rossi has been one of the most important pillars of the AS Roma team in recent years, and his fanaticism towards his club has led him to be considered the best successor to the legend of Francesco Totti for the armband of the Roma captain.
De Rossi was one of the most talented players in Serie A: a strong midfielder who had all the points on the pitch and would add well in attack.
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The important thing about De Rossi is that he really got into the AS Roma first team from the academy. Daniele played all these years with love for Roma and said goodbye to the world of football on 6 January 2020 in a Boca Juniors shirt, which he always called his second team. De Rossi is one of those players whose presence in the all-time best Serie A midfielders does not bother anyone.
13. Gennaro Gattuso
Gennaro Gattuso is one of those players who, despite being Italian, played in Scotland and after shining in this league, has moved to Serie A. In February 2000, Gattuso was considered an Italian national team player and a regular member of AC Milan, who was on his way to becoming one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.
By the time he retired in 2013, Gattuso had won one World Cup and two Champions League titles. While Gennaro Gattuso was never technically a perfect player, throughout his career he was best known for his dedication, selfless effort and fighting spirit.
His presence always caused fear in the opponent's attackers, and they were sure that Gattuso would leave his mark in the game. Still, Gattuso is very popular among Italians and even Scots. There is no doubt that he deserves to be among best Serie A midfielders of all time.
12. Clarence Seedorf
First Dutch on the best ever Serie A midfielders list. Although Clarence Seedorf had a firm place at Real Madrid and was very popular among the club's fans, he decided to leave the club in 2000, a decision that seemed strange given Seedorf's position at Real Madrid.
Seedorf's most glorious club career was with another Milan team. At AC Milan, Seedorf was able to reach the peak of his footballing career and establish himself as one of the best Serie A midfielders ever. The role of Clarence Seedorf was so important in Milan.
His goals in the 2007 Champions League against powerful teams like Bayern Munich and Manchester United will never be forgotten, but Seedorf's role in Milan's success cannot be limited to statistics.
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By keeping the rhythm and controlling the midfield, he had become the heart and engine of the team, and in many sensitive situations, he opened the net of the opponents. Seedorf played more than 300 games for Milan for about 10 years. The achievements he earned, without a doubt, place him among the best Serie A midfielders of all time.
11. Marco Tardelli
An integral part of Juventus and the Italian national team in the 80s! Marco Tardelli has won every possible title during his ten years at Juventus. Six Italian championships and three Italian Cups are among his honors. Marco is one of the best players in the history of this team. The peak of his time with the Bianconeri was the European Cup in 1985.
Tardelli is world-renowned for his rough and serious style, and that is why he is listed in the best Serie A midfielders of all time. Marco would run non-stop and be mentally focused on winning. Tardelli's tackles could have injured the opposing player. Perhaps Gennaro Gattuso can be compared to Marco Tardelli.
Although Tardelli was not initially an attacking player, he scored 51 goals in 367 appearances for the Old Lady. He had an amazing talent for scoring important goals. Marco's goal against Atletico Madrid in the European final in 1977 laid the ground for the first intercontinental title in Juventus history.
He was also in a very good position in terms of national games; two of the most important goals of the Azzurri in the 1982 World Cup were scored by Tardelli, one of which was scored against Argentina and the second in the final against West Germany. Tardelli's immense joy after the goal still remains in the memories of Italian fans. By the way, Italy won that cup.
10. Roberto Donadoni
Another attacking midfielder with extraordinary speed and spectator-friendly technique on the list of best Serie A midfielders of all time. Roberto Donadoni was an important figure in the 1980s and 1990s AC Milan. With the Rossoneri, he won five Serie A titles, three European Championships, three European Super Cups, and two international titles.
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He was more the driving force behind the team than a perfect scorer. Donadoni scored just 18 goals for the Rossoneri. In 63 national games, he opened the net only five times. Older football friends will still remember his escapes from the right-wing and creating opportunities for the team's attackers.
9. Demetrio Albertini
Demetrio Albertini's brilliant performance with Milan's dream team made Rossoneri the best football team in the world. After winning two Scudetto between 1993 and 1995, they reached three consecutive finals in the Champions League. In 1994, with a stunning 4-0 win over Johan Cruyff's Barcelona, they won the most prestigious club competition in the world and lost the other two finals 1-0 respectively to Marseille and Ajax.
It was during this period that Demetrio Albertini earned his place in the Azzurri. Unlike club games, Albertini's time in the Italian national team was full of failure, frustration, and defeats, so that many experts believe that the Italian football generation with stars such as Baggio, Maldini, and Albertini is the wasted generation of Italian football.
Among his failures in the national team between 1996 and 1999, he won two more Scudetto and finally said goodbye to the Rossoneri at the end of the 2001-2001 season. He has played 407 games and scored 28 goals for the Rossoneri. With all these records and honors, there is no doubt that Albertini should be on the list of Serie A greatest midfielders ever.
A strange decision was made, and Albertini headed to Atletico Madrid in Spain. At a time when everyone was waiting for the Italian football jewel to retire, Rijkaard, Albertini's former teammate in Milan, offered him a seductive offer to join Barcelona. In a season Albertini just started 9 games with Barcelona, the team won the La Liga competition and therefore, Albertini added this glorious title to his achievements.
8. Michel Platini
Michel Platini's Serie A career was short compared to the rest of his career, but his goal-scoring and playmaking abilities were undeniable. Michel was one of the foundations of Juventus' success in reaching the European finals. In 1985, he won a European final with Juventus.
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The match took place on May 29, 1985, in the shadow of the Heysel Stadium disaster in Brussels, Belgium. Observers of the game say that moments before the game, Liverpool fans started attacking the fence that was separating both teams' fans. The clash caused the old wall to collapse, killing 39 Juventus fans and injuring more than 600 people.
The game was played, and Juventus won the European Championship with a Platini goal from the penalty spot. Platini won the European Ballon d'Or three years in a row when he played for Juventus. Platini was a midfielder, not a striker, but he was on fire in front of the net. Platini is now considered as one of Serie A greatest midfielders ever.
Platini gave Juventus exactly what the club needed, and that was the main reason for Bianconeri's success in the 1980s. Although his time in Juventus and Italian football was very short, Platini made a good contribution to Italian history.
7. Frank Rijkaard
Rijkaard was a fan of calm and orderly football. Frank was not very talkative, but he had a good sense of humor, and his new teammates quickly realized Franck's qualities. Everyone was impressed by Rijkaard's technique in feeding the attackers because he was so smart that he could be the nightmare of the opposing midfielders. He used to move from midfield to the attacking position in order to feed the forwards.
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Rijkaard, who had been less used in the defensive area and did not like pressing responsibility, was completely confused by Arrigo Sacchi's ideas. There are stories that the Dutch midfielder was snoozing during tactical sessions.
6. Valentino Mazzola
Valentino Mazzola was a true leader. He is considered by many to be the first modern versatile midfielder in football history; a man with a unique combination of offensive and defensive abilities, with high leadership skill. Mazzola helped Torino reach the top of Italian football; the same team that at that point was nicknamed the "Grande Torino."
After two seasons in the middle of the table with Venezia, Mazzola played a key role in bringing the team to third place and winning the Coppa Italia. These results fascinated the Torino leaders so much that they were able to sign Mazzola in competition with Juventus.
Mazzola took over the leadership of the midfield brought Scudetto to the Turin before the arrival of World War II in Italy. After the end of World War I in 1946, Torino became Italian champions for four consecutive years. During Mazzola's gorgeous seasons at the highest level of Italian football, he scored 109 goals and celebrated five Serie A titles with Torino.
On May 4, 1949, a plane carrying Valentino Mazzola, along with 18 other players, team leaders, reporters, and flight crew, crashed into a hill east of Turin, killing all 31 people on board.
5. Andrea Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo was an extraordinary playmaker. Pirlo was a member of the team who had a wider intelligence. He won the Champions League with Milan and was one of the most important pillars of Carlo Ancelotti's great "Christmas Tree" system. After Pirlo struggled on a contract extension with Milan, he decided to leave the Rossoneri and join the Old Lady.
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Pirlo took Juventus to the top and made AC Milan leaders regret it. He did all this in the Italian national team as well. Since the beginning of the new century, there has not been a single major Italian player that Pirlo has not played alongside or against. Pirlo was on the pitch at the time of Alessandro Del Piero's retirement at the Juventus Stadium, and even when Paolo Maldini made his last appearance for Milan.
Andrea Pirlo was nicknamed "The Maestro" for his outstanding passes and playmaking ability. He was also a free-kick master. Pirlo also helped Italy achieve its 4th World Cup in 2006. Over 13 years with Azzurri, Pirlo made 116 caps and scored 13 goals.
4. Francesco Totti
A true legend among the best Serie A midfielders of all time and clearly one of the best Serie A midfielders ever. In 1998, the then-coach of Roma took the captain's armband from Aldair and tied it to 22-year-old Francesco Totti, making him the youngest captain in Serie A history. Totti was excellent and promising as a No. 10 player. He was named Italy's best young footballer in the 99-98 season.
The beginning of the 21st century was marked by the brilliant performances of Totti. Fabio Capello used Totti as an attacking midfielder, and the deadly Totti-Batistuta-Montella triangle put an end to many years of waiting. AS Roma won the 2001 season Scudetto, which is Francesco Totti's only major trophy with Roma. During the Scudetto season, Totti was considered by many to be the star of the championship. Back then, the captain of Roma received a lot of praise.
Totti was not only the champion of his club but also a star in the Italian national team. Italy reached the Euro 2000 final with Totti's brilliance. Although Italy lost to France in the final with Trezeguet's golden goal, Totti was named the final player of the final.
Six years later, Francesco won the 2006 World Cup in Germany with Italy, in which Italy took revenge on France. Totti retired from Italy after the match, and many believe Totti's farewell happened very soon and he could have still continued to shine at Azzurri.
3. Roberto Baggio
Football in Italy is love itself, and in the lives of the Italian people, love flows perfectly. You might think Roberto Baggio is not a popular figure in Italy, but it is not true. The Italians worship him. Roberto Baggio was a star who will never be forgotten.
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"The Divine Ponytail" was named European Footballer of the Year in 1993 and won the European Ballon d'Or. Baggio has played in three World Cups. Baggio's golden time was at the 1994 World Cup that Italy reached the final thanks to his brilliant play.
Baggio for his Buddhist beliefs was nicknamed "The Little Buddha" in Italy. In those days, playmaker midfielders were called "Trequartista", and Roberto Baggio was the best example of a trequartista midfielder.
Injuries have put pressure on Baggio all these years. Roberto always tried to be on the pitch but the injuries never left him and he finally retired from football in pain.
2. Zinedine Zidane
Another wonderful Frenchman in the best Serie A midfielders of all time list. Zinedine Zidane played for Juventus for five seasons and reached the European final twice, with Juventus leaving empty-handed in both games. Zidane has won an international trophy, two Serie A titles, and the Player of the Year award with Juventus.
Zidane's magic with the ball in the midfield was really eye-catching for fans and deadly for opponents. Just like Platini, Zidane's presence in Serie A was short but excellent. It can be said without a doubt that during those five seasons, one of the wonders of the football world played in Serie A.
1. Gianni Rivera
Gianni Rivera is probably one of the names many of you have not heard of, but rest assured, there is a strong reason why Rivera is on the list of best Serie A midfielders ever. Gianni Rivera was elegant, flawless, excellent, and extraordinary. Rivera shone on the pitch in a way that made even the opposing players admire him.
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At the age of 17, Rivera became one of the most important players in Italy and the world, and it was just normal that Azzurri would invite him a year later to play in the 1962 World Cup in Chile. Gianni made his Italy debut against West Germany.
In Milan, no one could keep Gianni out of the squad. The Devils of Milan in the 1962-1963 season sought to reclaim the Scudetto and re-dominate Europe. Rivera was in an incredible form that season, playing 40 games for Milan and Azzurri, scoring many goals for the team to win the Scudetto, although Milan failed to win the title that season but reached the Club Cup final.
Rivera won the championship with two assists to Altafini. Eusébio and his teammates surrendered to the Milan phenomenon. Gianni Rivera was the main contender for the Ballon d'Or at the age of 19, but only a great miracle could take the Ballon d'Or away from him, and so it happened, and legendary Lev Yashin won the Ballon d'Or.
With all this, it can easily be said that Gianni Rivera simply deserves to be among the best Serie A midfielders of all time.