Thu 31 December 2020 | 17:30

Best Napoli defenders of all time

Let us take a look at some of the Best Napoli Defenders in history

We all recognize Napoli as one of the biggest football clubs in Italy, and there is no doubt that they are the best football club in Southern Italy. During this club's almost 120 years of history, a lot of great footballers from Italy and other areas of the globe have played for them. We would like to look back at all these years and list some of the best Napoli defenders. However, like always, we'll take a look back at the history of the club first.

The Italian football giants, SC Napoli, generally known as Napoli, are probably the most famous football team in southern Italy. Napoli has a long and rich history that goes back to 1904. After the arrival of English sailors, in particular William Poths, the Napoli Club was founded in the early 1900s. Poths came from England, where football was really popular those days, and he joined forces to form Napoli along with Ernesto Bruschini, who was originally from Naples.

Italy is a country that supports defenders above any other nation that has ever played association football. Defense has been the key component of their success in the country's distinguished history of sport. So good was the Azzurri in this specific area of the game that they made it an art as such.

The Azzurri won the World Cup in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 with finals appearances in 1970 and 1994. Defending has been outlined as a critical element of each side's success.

Best Napoli Defenders of all time

Here are the 10 greatest defenders in the history of the country who will be forever recognized for their accomplishments.

Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly (born 20 June 1991) is a professional footballer who plays as a center back for the Napoli

Serie A

club and captains of the Senegal national team.

Often considered to be one of the

Best Napoli Defenders of all time

, Koulibaly won a place in The Guardian's 100 Best Male Footballers in 2019, where he was ranked the third-best center back in the globe.

Koulibaly started his professional club career with the French team Metz in 2010, before shifting to the Belgian club Genk in 2012, earning the Belgian Cup in his first season.

He joined the Italian team


in 2014, where he won the Supercoppa Italiana title; he also won the Coppa Italia in 2020.

Since Koulibaly was born in France to Senegalese parents, he was qualified to represent both nations at international level and at first played for France's national football team under-20.

He made his senior debut with Senegal in 2015 and was a member of the Senegal team that participated in the Africa Cup of Nations 2017.

He was named to the side that represented Senegal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup the preceeding year, and then, as one of the Best ever Napoli Defenders, he helped his team to the final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Giancarlo Corradini

Giancarlo Corradini (born 24 February 1961 in Sassuolo, Modena Province) is an Italian football manager and retired defender. He used to be one of the

Best ever Napoli Defenders.

Corradini began his career in his native Sassuolo, before moving to Genoa in 1978, and to Reggiana in 1980. From 1982 to 1988, he played for



He left the Granata in 1988 to join Napoli, where he won the Serie A championship title in 1990, the UEFA Cup in 1989 and the Italian Super Cup in 1990. He decided to retire from playing football in 1994.

After his retirement from playing football as one of the Best Napoli Defenders of all time, Corradini became a youth team coach.

He decided to join


in 1999; in 2001, following the appointment of Marcello Lippi, he joined the first coaching team, and in 2004 he was finally named Fabio Capello's first assistant coach.

In his stint as the Juventus caretaker, Corradini did not attain a single point, with Juventus losing to relegation-battling sides Bari and Spezia.

The day before the final match, lost 3-2 at home to Spezia, he stated that he was leaving Juventus, mentioning his intention to find a full-time head coaching position.

On 24 June 2007, he was named the new head coach of the Serie C1 Venezia club. However, he was dismissed two months later, on 30 August, after a 2–1 loss to Cremonese on the second Serie C1 league day.

In November 2008, Corradini accepted to fill the empty head coaching position at the Serie D Club Cuneo, which led to the escape relegation at the end of the 2008–09 season. In June 2009, he left Cuneo.

In July 2012, Corradini was hired as assistant coach at Watford under the new manager Gianfranco Zola. He left in July 2013.

Alessandro Renica

Alessandro Renica (born 15 September 1962 in Anneville-sur-Mer, France) is a retired French-born Italian professional football player and former manager of Trissino.

Former defenseman, he often played either as a sweeper or as a full-back on occasion, and is better remembered for his time with the Italian side of Napoli, where he won several titles, becoming one of the All-time Best Napoli Defenders.

throughout his career, Renica played for

L.R. Vicenza

(1979–1982), Sampdoria (1982–1985), and Napoli (1985–1991), where he built a reputation for himself as a major player in the club's starting line-up, winning several titles before finishing his career with Verona (1991–1993).

In the 1982-1983 season, he was loaned to the rampant Sampdoria of Paolo Mantovani.

With the Ligurian team, newly promoted to Serie A, he scored his first professional goal against


on 15 January 1983.

In the following year, 1983-1984, he became a regular. In the 1984-1985 season, Eugenio Bersellini appears as the coach who deploys Renica as a full-back, a position he doesn't like.

Renica, one of the Best Napoli Defenders of all time, a left-footed defender, usually played as a sweeper, and was widely acknowledged for his vision, tactical sense, powerful left-foot, and ability in the air, as well as leadership, correct behavior, and honesty as a player.

Tarcisio Burgnich

Tarcisio Burgnich (born April 25, 1939) is an Italian former football manager and player who played as one of the Best Napoli Defenders of all time.

Burgnich played for


, Juventus, Palermo, Internazionale and Napoli during most of his career; although he won titles for both Juventus and Napoli, he was known primarily for his time with

Inter Milan

, where he was a member of Helenio Herrera's Grande Inter side.

He teamed up with fellow full-back Giacinto Facchetti in the back-line team and played a vital role in the team's successes in Herrera's defensive catenaccio system, thanks to his speed, stamina, offensive abilities and defensive work-rate, winning four Serie A titles, two European Cups and two Intercontinental Cups.

At the international level, Burgnich represented Italy's national football team at the 1960 Summer Olympics, finishing fourth and at three FIFA World Cups, winning the 1970 FIFA World Cup.

He was also a part of the national team that won the first ever UEFA European Football Championship in Italy on home soil in 1968. He was indeed one of the

All-time Best Napoli Defenders.

A dynamic player, he was able to play in any defensive position, to be adept as a right-back, as a center-back, and also as a sweeper.

The Inter Teammate Armando Picchi (who was the captain and sweeper of the side) gave him the nickname "La Roccia" (The Rock) due to his imposing physique as well as his fearless playing style.

Paolo Cannavaro

Paolo Cannavaro (born 26 June 1981) is an Italian retired professional footballer who played as one of the Best Napoli Defenders of all time.

He is the younger brother of Fabio Cannavaro, a retired football defender. His nephew and son of Fabio Cannavaro Christian is also a soccer player who is currently playing for Serie B side Benevento and previously played for Paolo's former club Sassuolo.

After starting his career with Napoli, he moved to


in 1999, where he played alongside his older brother Fabio.

Paolo stayed with the club for seven seasons, apart from a loan with Verona during the 2001-02 season, assisting the club reach the 2005 UEFA Cup semi-finals.

In 2006, he went back to Napoli, where due to being one of the Best Napoli Defenders of all time, he was eventually made captain of the club, contributing to the revival of the club:

helping the team to win the Serie A promotion in its first season, and then helping his side to qualify for the UEFA Cup in 2008, winning the Champions League in 2011, and winning the Coppa Italia in 2012, the club's first title in more than 20 years.

After eight seasons with Napoli, he decided to move to


in 2014, where he remained until his retirement in 2017.

After the end of his professional football career, he joined his brother in Guangzhou Evergrande as a member of the coaching staff of the team.

Giovanni Francini

Giovanni Francini (born 3 August 1963) is a retired Italian footballer who played as a defender, in fact one of the

Best Napoli Defenders ever.

During his club career, Francini played for Torino (1978–87), creating his debut in 1980, and during that period he was sent to Serie B side of


on loan for the 1982–83 season, where he could not help the team avoid being relegated to Serie C.

Throughout his spell with the Turin club, he managed to reach three successive Coppa Italia finals between 1980–82, also managing a second-place finish in Serie C.

Later, he played for the Napoli side of Maradona (1987–1994), where he enjoyed another productive period.

During this time, he won the Serie A, the Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup, and also the Coppa Italia final. He shifted briefly to Genoa in 1994, and then to Brescia (1994–96), where he retired in 1996, at the age of 32, in

Serie B


Francini mainly played as a left-sided fullback, excelling in his pace, stamina, consistency, composure, and work-rate, all making him one of the Best Napoli Defenders of all time.

 He was also able to play as a man-marking center-back, known as a "stopper," in Italian football jargon.

Despite being regarded as a tenacious and hard-hitting defender, he was also known for his offensive abilities as a full-back, due to his technique and crossing accuracy, as well as eye for goal, decency of his heading, capacity to cut inside and shoot the goal with his stronger left foot, and ability to make attacking runs into the penalty area.

He has also stood out for his leadership all across his career.

Moreno Ferrario

Moreno Luigi Ferrario (Lainate, 20 March 1959) is a football coach and former Italian footballer, defender and coach of the


youth team. He is one of the

Best Napoli Defenders of all time.

Raised in Varese, in 1975, at the age of 16, he started his career, playing in two Serie B championships.

In the summer of 1977 he was signed by Napoli which earned him a few months after his debut at the age of 18 in the Under-21 national team. In the end he had a total of 16 appearances.

Back in Lombardy, he coached Verbania. Subsequently he worked with the youth side of


, in the 2006-2007 season, becoming the coach of Berretti. In the 2009-2010 season he was the coach of the Gallaratese Juniores.

After a period as an observer on behalf of Novara, in 2015 he joined the staff of Spezia as a technical assistant, working with the Giovanissimi Nazionali.

In the next season he moved to the Primavera, becoming the assistant of the coach Flavio Giampieretti. In the 2017-2018 season he maintained his position, spending time under the guidance of Riccardo Corallo.

In the 2018-2019 season he became one of the coaches of the Legnano youth teams. He is considered as one of the Best Napoli Defenders ever.

Ruud Krol

Rudolf ('Ruud' or 'Rudi') Jozef Krol (born 24 March 1949) is a former Dutch professional footballer who has been capped 83 times by the Dutch national team.

Most of his career he played for his home town club,


, and after retirement he became a coach.

Considered to be one of the All-time Best Defenders at Napoli, Krol played mainly as a sweeper or a left-back.

However, he could play anywhere across the backline or in the middle as a defensive midfielder because of his range of passing with both legs, temperament, tactical intelligence, and ability to start attacking after winning the ball.

He began his career at Ajax under the leadership of Rinus Michels. He didn't play much in his first season at the club.

After the departure of left back Theo van Duivenbode in the summer of 1969 to Feyenoord, Krol became a regular player.

When Ajax won the UEFA European Cup in 1971, Krol didn't play because of a broken leg. Krol played in the finals of the 1972 and 1973 European Cup.

While others such as Johan Cruijff and Johan Neeskens left for new pastures, Krol, captain since Piet Keizer left in October 1974, stayed in Ajax until June 1980. He is one of the

Best Napoli Defenders of all time.

He moved to the North American Soccer League to play the Vancouver Whitecaps for one season.

He joined S.S.C. Napoli, where he played for the next four seasons. His last club before he retired in 1986 was the French club AS Cannes at the time in 

Ligue 2

(the French 2nd division).

Ciro Ferrara

Ciro Ferrara (born 11 February 1967) is a former Italian footballer and manager. His most recent position was as

Wuhan Zall

's manager.

He had also previously coached Juventus and the Italy National Under-21 Team.

As assistant coach to Marcello Lippi, he won the 2006 FIFA World Cup with Italy's senior team. He is definitely one of the

All-time Best Defenders at Napoli.

Ferrara spent his career as a defenseman, at first in Napoli and later in Juventus, winning seven total Serie A titles as well as other national and international trophies.

At the global arena, he represented


at the 1988 Summer Olympics, two UEFA European Championships, in 1988 and 2000 and the 1990 World Cup.

Born in Naples, Ferrara started his career with the youth system of Napoli's hometown club in 1980. He graduated the primavera youth squad in 1984, and began to earn first team call-ups that season.

In his first full season, he produced 14 total club appearances.

The next season, Ferrara became part of the starting XI, and soon began to win a call-up to the Italian national team, making it the team for the 1990 FIFA World Cup and making himself as one of the very Best Defenders in Napoli History.

He also managed to score one of Napoli's goals in the final of the 1989 UEFA Cup.

In addition to the UEFA Cup, Napoli won two Serie A titles (in 1986–87 and 1989–90), the Coppa Italia final in 1987 and the Supercoppa Italiana in 1990, the latter over his future team, Juventus.

Giuseppe Bruscolotti

Giuseppe Bruscolotti (born 1 June 1951) is a retired Italian footballer who played as a right-back.

He is often recognized for his long career with S.S.C. Napoli, where he served as the club's captain and contributed to the team's first ever Serie A title in 1987.

Across all of his career, due to his physical strength, he was regarded as "Pal e fierr" ("iron pole") by the fans. He is unquestionably one of the Best Napoli Defenders of all time.

Born in Sassano, Campania, Bruscolotti started his career with


in 1970.

He instantly aided the club to the Serie B promotion, winning the Serie C1 title during the 1970–71 season, and was part of a defense that only conceded 12 goals in the league;

however, the club was immediately relegated to Serie C again the following season, finishing second last in the league.

Subsequently, Bruscolotti relocated to S.S.C. Napoli in 1972, where he spent most of his career, making over 500 appearances for the team during his sixteen seasons in Naples;

he made his Serie A debut with Napoli in the 1972–73 season, in a 1–0 win over


on 24 September 1972.

Bruscolotti became the club's symbol and superstar, playing a key role in helping Napoli win its first ever Serie A title in 1987;

he was also captain of the team from 1978 to 1984, when he handed over the armband to Diego Maradona. 

He retired at the age of 37 in 1988, holding the record the most Serie A appearances for Napoli (387) and making the second most of the club appearances in all league competitions.

He has also made 96 appearances for Napoli in Coppa Italia and 28 in European competitions.

There wouldn’t remain any doubts that he is by far one of the

Best Defenders in Napoli History.

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