Played for both: Coral’s combined Juventus and AC Milan modern era XI
Italian champions Juventus host fellow Serie A heavyweights AC Milan in league action on Saturday night. Hard times have fallen on the Rossoneri, which explains a massive 10/1 price with Coral for an away win, while the Old Lady (odds-on 1/3 match favourites) is targeting a fourth title in a row.
This clash involving a fallen giant in a tasty trip to Turin got our football experts thinking about which great names have played for both teams. We decided to use Italia ’90, the last time the World Cup came to the country that these European powers hail from, as a cut-off point.
Also, to make it extra interesting, we have incorporated two of Italian football’s favourite tactics in a strong central defence and a flooded, but narrow midfield. Read on to discover who makes our all-star XI made up of players that turned out for both Juve and AC Milan…
Goalkeeper: Christian Abbiati
Who better to start with than Milan’s current longest serving player and custodian Abbiati (from 1998)? Due to Dida also being on their books during that time, the Rossoneri loaned him to Juventus for the 2005/06 campaign when Gianluigi Buffon was injured. Now benched behind Spanish stopper Diego Lopez, the visitors are X to keep a clean sheet/win to nil against the Old Lady.
Centre back: Nicola Legrottaglie
Legrottaglie showed loyalty to Juve when they were relegated for match-fixing in 2006, despite being out of favour under Fabio Capello and on loan with Siena at the time. Signed in 2003, he left in the winter window of 2010/11 for Milan. He played just once in Serie A for the Rossoneri, picking up a serious head injury against Lazio.
Centre back: Emerson
Operating slightly back from his natural position of anchorman, Brazil old boy Emerson first came to Serie A with Roma, but jumped ship to Juve in 2004 following manager Capello. The titles player and coach won in 2005 and 2006 were stripped from them because of the scandal.
Emerson really was a Capello acolyte, following him to Real Madrid after the 2006 World Cup, but then returned to Italy with Milan after a single season at the Bernabeu. When linking up with the Rossoneri, they were champions of Europe, which shows how far they have fallen since.
Centre back: Pietro Vierchowod
Best known for a dozen years with Sampdoria, 1982 World Cup winner Vierchowod added the Champions League to his honours during his spell at the Old Lady (1995-96). He then spent the following season with Milan.
England legend and Match of the Day present Gary Lineker lauded Vierchowod as “the hardest defender he ever faced”, describing him as “absolutely brutal and lightning quick. He gave me one or two digs.”
Central midfield: Patrick Vieira
Coral punters will best know current Manchester City reserves boss Vieira from a trophy-laden spell with Arsenal (he played over 400 games for the Gunners) but, prior to joining Arsene Wenger’s side, he had a brief stint with Milan. The powerful former France midfielder played fives times for the Rossoneri in 1995/96.
When he left Arsenal, Vieira moved to Juve and spent the 2005/06 campaign there, but left when they were relegated because of the match-fixing scandal. Current Old Lady midfielder Paul Pogba has already been compared to this Gunners great, and is X to score anytime against Milan.
Deep-lying playmaker: Andrea Pirlo
How do you top two Champions League winners’ medals during a decade with the Rossoneri (2001-11)? Playmaker Pirlo has managed to get better and better with age, and his free transfer to the Old Lady has resulted in three more Serie A titles in as many seasons to go with two he won in Milan.
As pace has never been as asset of Pirlo’s, it’s not something he’s had to lose. The likes of Pogba and Arturo Vidal do his running for him. Milan will know how deadly Pirlo can be with a dead ball, and that is his most likely method of getting on the scoresheet at 12/5 to net anytime. Check out his sublime skills below:
Central midfield: Edgar Davids
Combative Dutch anchorman Davids, like Pirlo, made the jump from Milan (1996-97) to Juventus (1997-2004). Later turning out for Tottenham, he made his name at Ajax, but really enhanced his reputation at the Old Lady with three Serie A titles.
Attacking midfield: Roberto Baggio
At the point of our diamond is brilliant Baggio. Never mind that penalty miss at the 1994 World Cup, his five years with Juve (1990-95) included a UEFA Cup final triumph in 1993 to go with the Ballon d’Or and a Serie A/Coppa Italia double two seasons later. With those honours on his CV, Baggio switched to Milan and earned another Scudetto in his maiden campaign with the Rossoneri.
Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
PSG and Sweden talisman Ibrahimovic may have been stripped of the Serie A titles during his two seasons with Juve (2004-06), but he still has an Italian top-flight crown on his CV from his subsequent spell with Milan (2010-12). In his second season with the red half of the San Siro, Ibrahimovic also scooped the league top scorer prize.
Striker: Filippo Inzaghi
Current Milan manager Inzaghi has been at the San Siro in one capacity or another since 2001. The Rossoneri paid the equivalent of £17m to secure his services, and it proved to be money well spent. Clever movement was always his hallmark, with Sir Alex Ferguson famously saying Inzaghi “was born in an offside position”.
He was no slouch at Juve either, scoring 57 league goals in 120 outings. Inzaghi won Serie A with both sides, but will be best remembered for his decisive brace in the 2007 Champions League final where Milan beat Liverpool to avenge their loss from two years earlier. Relive that memorable match below:
Striker: Christian Vieri
What a sweet left foot well-travelled ex-Italy frontman Vieri had. Spells at the Old Lady (1996-97) and Milan (2005) were not his most successful, though. Vieri’s best days were sandwiched between these clubs, as he was prolific for Atletico Madrid and the Rossoneri’s bitter rivals Inter.
As backup in goal, we’ve got Marco Storari. Had we played a formation with full or wing backs, 2006 World Cup winner Gianluca Zambrotta would definitely have been included.
Our midfield reserves are former West Ham United loanee Antonio Nocerino and Liverpool flop Alberto Aquilani. Current Juventus striker Alessandro Matri, who is on loan with the Old Lady from Milan, may feature against his parent club here.