Ricorrenze Azzurre

Happy birthday to World Cup winners Franco Baresi and Andrea Barzagli!

The legendary AC Milan defender turns 60 today. While the ex-Bianconeri centre-back turns 39

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Happy birthday to World Cup winners Franco Baresi and Andrea Barzagli!

Franco Baresi was born in Travagliato, in the province of Brescia, on 8 May 1960. An icon and historic captain of Arrigo Sacchi’s great AC Milan side, Franco Baresi is considered one of the greatest players in the history of Italian football.

He was a Rossoneri player for twenty seasons, from 1977 to 1997, during fifteen of which he wore the captain’s armband, and he won six Scudetto titles, three Champions Leagues, two Intercontinental Cups, three European Super Cups and four Coppa Italia trophies with the club. He was nicknamed ‘Piscininin’ (‘Little guy’) and later ‘Kaiser Franz’ in honour of Franz Beckenbauer, and overall he’s the second most capped AC Milan player in their history.

He was just 20 years old when first called up to the National Team, and thanks to his great performances Coach Bearzot selected him to take part in the 1980 European Championship, the 1980 Mundialito and most notably the 1982 World Cup, in which Italy became World Champions for the third time.

He was considered Gaetano Scirea’s natural heir and he once again found himself wearing Italy’s shirt under Azeglio Vicini’s leadership, who considered him an irreplaceable starter when Italy came third in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Arrigo Sacchi promoted him to National Team Captain when he took over in 1991 and he led the side to the World Cup Final at USA ’94 where they lost to Brazil on penalties.

On 7 September 1994, at the age of 34, Baresi played his last match for the Azzurri after having made 81 appearances, scoring one goal. In 2013 he entered the Italian Football Hall of Fame.

Andrea Barzagli was born in Fiesole on 8 May 1981. He grew up in the youth sectors of Cattolica Virtus and Rondinella before making his Serie A debut at the age of 22 on 31 August 2003 for Chievo against Brescia. An excellent year with the club from Verona earned him a move to Palermo, where he stayed for four seasons before moving to Wolfsburg. He won the Bundesliga in his first year in Germany having played all 34 league games and stayed at Wolfsburg for three years before returning to Italy to play for Juventus. He was a stalwart for the Bianconeri throughout their impressive era of Italian dominance, winning eight Scudetto titles, four Italian Super Cups and four Coppa Italia trophies before retiring at the end of the 2018/19 season.

His career in the Italian team began by winning the U21 European Championship in 2004 when he was a starter in the 3-0 win against Serbia and Montenegro in the final on 8 June in Bochum, Germany. A few weeks later he won an Olympic bronze medal having played all 90 minutes in the third-place play-off which Italy won 1-0 against Iraq in Thessaloniki, Greece. His senior team debut came on 17 November 2004 in Messina in a friendly against Finland that Marcello Lippi’s Azzurri side won thanks to Miccoli’s goal. Barzagli started that game in central defence alongside Materazzi, and he remained in Lippi’s group until the 2006 World Cup where he became a World Cup winner with two appearances: he came on for Toni in the second-half of the round of 16 against Australia, while he started in the quarter-final against Ukraine. He then took part in the 2008 European Championship under Donadoni’s guidance, where he made one appearance before injuring his left knee. After that he had a spell out of the Italian side until 2011, when Cesare Prandelli recalled him and he took part in the 2012 Euros, in which the Azzurri were runners-up. He also played in the Confederations Cup in 2013, the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and the Euros in France in 2016 under Antonio Conte’s management. Overall, he amassed a total of 73 appearances for the Azzurri.