Italy coach Giampiero Ventura has chosen not to pick Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in his all-time Azzurri XI.
There was no place either for Roma stalwart Francesco Totti, AC Milan great Paolo Maldini or midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, as Ventura selected some of the less fashionable players from Italy’s history to star in his side.
The 68-year-old was asked to pick his ultimate national team as he made his way around the country to visit all 20 Serie A clubs, but he avoided naming any players still active in the game.
Despite having the most capped player in Italian football history in his squad in the shape of Buffon, Ventura told Vivo Azzurro: “In goal: Dino Zoff.
“He’s the history of football, excluding those still playing, he’s the strongest player from the last 50 years.
“This isn’t a tactical selection but one from the heart.”
Former Inter defenders Tarcisio Burgnich and Giacinto Facchetti got the nod at full-back ahead of the likes of Maldini and Giuseppe Bergomi, with Ventura describing the 1960s stars as “part of my youth”.
Ventura delved into more recent history for his centre-backs, choosing Franco Baresi and Alessandro Nesta, but he overlooked a number of Italy’s great modern midfielders and instead selected Franco Causio, Gianni Rivera and Romeo Benetti.
Of attacking selection Roberto Baggio, who played and scored in three World Cups during the 1990s, Ventura said: “He entertained me many times”.
The Italy boss returned to the 1960s and 70s to complete his line-up, picking a front two of Sandro Mazzola and Gigi Riva.
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