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The Most Capped Italian Footballers Ever

Sat 03 July 2021 | 7:30

Who are Italy's most capped players? And who is the most capped footballer of all time among Italian footballers? Well, you might have some guesses; there are so many top Italian top current or former footballers out there, but being top doesn’t necessarily mean most appearances for a footballer.

Well, that’s not the case, however, with Gianluigi Buffon who tops the list of

most capped Italian footballers ever

. Most Italy caps actually belongs to him. He’s both a top Italian footballer and, as many believe, the best goalkeeper Italy has ever produced, and number one among Italy's most capped players.

And the list of Italy's most capped players is not limited to Gianluigi Buffon. We mean there are other top players on the list who, although not topping the list, but are close to Buffon concerning their overall caps. And almost all of them have had more than 100 caps - except for two.

Who is the Most Capped Footballer of All Time Among Italian Footballers?

Well, we think you already know the answer, but let’s see what other top Italian footballers are on the list.

Gianluigi Buffon (176 Caps)

The answer to question,

who is the most capped footballer of all time

among Italian footballers, is for sure Gianluigi Buffon. He made a total of 176 appearances for the Italian national team between 1997 and 2018, and his record is not yet broken by any other Italian footballer. As mentioned above, he actually tops the list of most capped Italian footballers ever. He also served Italy’s under-aged national teams including Italy U16, U17, U18, U21, and U23 teams between 1993 and 1997 making 24 appearances for them in the process.

As many believe,

Buffon

is the best goalkeeper Italy has ever produced. We call him the man of appearances! Why? Because he has also records to his name concerning his club appearances. He has made the most number of appearances for Juventus in Serie A matches; actually 489 appearances up until now - please consider that although he’s internationally retired, he’s still active in club football. Buffon has also made the most number of club appearances an Italian footballer has ever made (930 appearances) and has also made the most number of appearances for the Italian national team as captain (80 appearances). He’s one of the four players in the history of football to have taken part in five editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014 editions of the competition.

Fabio Cannavaro (136 Caps)

The second top footballer on the list of most capped Italian footballers ever, Fabio Cannavaro is a top former Italian defender and the winner of Ballon d'Or trophy in 2006 who is only 40 caps behind Gianluigi Buffon to finish second on the list. Cannavaro made all his 136 appearances for the Italian national team between 1997 and 2010. He took part in 4 editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010 editions of the competition, with the Italian national team and even won the 2006 World Cup with them.

In the two latter editions of FIFA World Cup mentioned above (2006 and 2010), Fabio Cannavaro also captained the Italian national team replacing the former Italian captain, Paolo Maldini. Cannavaro’s international debut was in January 1998 in a friendly match against

Northern Ireland

where he was not taken serious against the then top striker, Alan Shearer, however, the then 25-year-old Fabio Cannavaro proved otherwise and stopped Shearer in his tracks in a game that Italy won 1-0.

It might be interesting for you to know that at the time Fabio Cannavaro won the World Cup with the Italian national team in July 2006, he had completed 100 caps. Italy’s defence really shined in that competition: They only received two goals throughout the competition and managed to earn a record 5 clean sheets. Courtesy of Cannavaro’s defending and leadership qualities? For sure, because Italy was without Paolo Maldini at the time and also did not have their then top defender, Alessandro Nesta, due to injury.

Paolo Maldini (126 Caps)

The third footballer on the list with

most Italy caps

, Paolo Maldini is a 53-year-old retired defender who is not only considered as one of the greatest defenders Italy has ever produced but also one of the greatest defenders the world has ever seen. During his playtime, he was also a one-club man who only served the top Serie A club, AC Milan; actually for 15 years between 1984 and 2009.

Although Maldini does not top the list of most capped Italian footballers ever, he’s a record holder concerning the number of appearances he has made for the Italian national team in World Cup competitions: With 23 appearances which actually occurred in the 1990, 1994, 1998, and 2002 editions of FIFA World Cup, Maldini holds the record of most World Cup appearances for the Italian national team. He also holds the record of most minutes played in World Cup - actually 2217 minutes - which is a world record not broken yet by any other footballer till now. It should also be mentioned here that Maldini also served

Italy’s U21 team

between 1986 and 1988 making 12 appearances and scoring 5 goals for them in the process.

Daniele De Rossi (117 Caps)

And here comes the first midfielder on the list of most capped Italian footballers ever: The recently-retired Daniele De Rossi who is by now 37 years old and served the top Serie A club, AS Roma, for almost all his career. In fact, if he didn’t serve the Argentinian club,

Boca Juniors

, in the final season of his career - 2019-20 season actually, we could say he had served AS Roma for all his career and were a one-club man just like Paolo Maldini.

De Rossi made a total of 117 appearances for the Italian national team between 2004 and 2017 taking part in three editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 2006, 2010, and 2014 editions of the competition, with them, and actually won the first one (World Cup 2006). He scored a total of 21 goals in all his 117 appearances for his country’s national team which makes him the second Italian midfielder to have scored the most number of international goals - The first is the old-generation Italian footballer, Adolfo Baloncieri, who scored 25 goals for the Italian national team between 1920 and 1930. De Rossi also served Italy’s U19, U20, and U21 national teams between 2001 and 2004 making 23 appearances and scoring 5 goals for them in the process.

Andrea Pirlo (116 Caps)

Only one cap behind Daniele De Rossi on the list of

most capped Italian footballers ever

, Andrea Pirlo is a 42-year-old retired footballer who made a total of 116 appearances for the Italian national team between 2002 and 2015 and scored 13 goals for them during this time. He also made 9 appearances for Italy’s Olympic team and a total of 68 appearances for Italy’s U15, U16, U17, U18, and U21 national teams between 1994 and 2002.

Pirlo took part in 3 editions of the FIFA World Cup, namely the 2006, 2010, and 2014 editions of the competition, with the Italian national team winning the first one (2006 World Cup) with them. World Cup 2006 was actually the competition in which not only the Italian national team as a whole but also some of the team’s individual players like Pirlo shined. He was actually named the competition’s top assist provider, Man of the Match in the final, and on the competition’s All-Star Team not to mention that he also won the competition’s Bronze Ball.

Dino Zoff (112 Caps)

The legendary Italian goalkeeper who holds the record of longest time without conceding a goal in international matches - 1142 minutes between 1972 and 1974, Dino Zoff is a 71-year-old retired goalkeeper and the only Italian footballer to have won both World Cup and European Championship. He’s actually one of the best goalkeepers in the history of football, and as defined by IFFHS the third greatest goalkeeper in the 20th century behind the great Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks.

Zoff made a total of 112 caps for the Italian national team between 1968 and 1983 and took part in four editions of FIFA World Cup with them, namely the 1970, 1974, 1978, and 1982 editions of the competition. He actually won 1982 World Cup with his country’s national team becoming the oldest winner of the World Cup who actually won the trophy 40 years, 4 months, and 13 days; the record which is not broken yet by any other footballer including goalkeepers. Zoff was Italy’s captain at the time they won 1982 World Cup which actually makes him one of the four goalkeepers in the history of football to have won the trophy as captain alongside his fellowman, Gianpiero Combi, Iker Casillas of Spain, and Hugo Lloris of France.

Giorgio Chiellini (109 Caps)

The first footballer on the list of

most capped Italian footballers ever

who is still in the business, Giorgio Chiellini has made a total of 109 appearances for the Italian national team since the start of his career in 2000 to this date (1 July, 2021). He’s 36 years old by now and almost near the end of his career, but he has neither retired from club nor from international football which means he has still time to increase the number of his appearances including those for his country’s national team. So, there is a probability that he promotes his position on the list of most capped Italian footballers ever which we will surely update you with.

Although

Chiellini

took part in two editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 2010 and 2014 editions of the competition, he never won either a World Cup or a FIFA individual trophy, however, that doesn’t mean Chiellini is not a great defender. He has won 9 consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus from 2011 to 2020 and also finished second in Euro 2012 with the Italian national team. It should also be mentioned here that despite Chiellini’s decision to retire from International football in 2018, he was called up once more to the Italian national team for Euro 2020.

Leonardo Bonucci (106 Caps)

And here comes the second and last footballer on the list of most capped Italian footballers ever who, just like Chiellini, is still in the business:

Leonardo Bonucci

. So, again just like Chiellini, Bonucci could also promote his position on the list with more appearances for the Italian national team in the remaining years of his career - he’s 36 years old by now - that we will surely update you with.

Yet again just like Chiellini, Bonucci has also won neither a World Cup nor a FIFA individual trophy, and with Juventus, he has won 8 Serie A titles. He was also part of the Italian national team who finished second in Euro 2012. Both playing as a center back, Bonucci and Chiellini are just close to identical considering their club and international trophies. In fact, Bonucci alongside Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli have been the key members of Juventus’ three-man defensive line for quite a time - near 10 years, so there is no wonder their records are almost the same. It should also be mentioned here that Bonucci has been serving the

Italian national team

since 2010 and, as mentioned above, has made 106 appearances for them. He’s the last footballer on the list with more than 100 caps for his country’s national team.

Gianluca Zambrotta (98 Caps)

Part of the Italian national team who won the 2006 World Cup, Gianluca Zambrotta is a 44-year-old retired defender who managed to make 98 appearances for Italy between 1999 and 2010 taking part in three editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 2002, 2006, and 2010 editions of the competition, with them and actually winning the 2006 World Cup, as mentioned above.

Considered as one of the greatest attacking full-backs Italy has ever produced, Zambrotta was a versatile footballer who could not only play on both flanks despite being right-footed but also in the middle of the pitch and as a central midfielder with a knack for attacking, though his deployment as a midfielder was just occasional, however, probably it was because of such a versatility that Zambrotta was included in the World Cup 2006 All-Star Team, too. It should also be mentioned here that Zambrotta is the only footballer on the list of

Italy's most capped players

to have played for the top La Liga club, Barcelona, sometime during his club career.

Giacinto Facchetti (94 Caps)

The last but not least on the list of most capped Italian footballers ever, Giacinto Facchetti is the only passed footballer on the list who was a defender like Gianluca Zambrotta, and a one-club man just like Paolo Maldini, during his playtime who played for the top Serie A club,

Inter Milan

, for 18 years between 1960 and 1978. Facchetti also made 94 appearances for the Italian national team between 1963 and 1977.

Taking part in three editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 1966, 1970, and 1974 editions of the competition, with the Italian national team, Giacinto Facchetti was never honored with a World Cup trophy, however, he actually finished as runner-up once in World Cup 1970 and also captained his country’s national team in the 1970 and 1974 editions of the competition. He was also named on the World Cup All-Star Team in 1970 and won one Euro Championship in 1968.

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source: SportMob