The days of teams turning up to play football with the express purpose of enjoying themselves and putting on a show for an adoring public is unfortunately a thing of a bygone era.
The necessity to win at all costs has become the one and only aim of all clubs nowadays, and that objective is almost always achieved with the use of unsavory methods, whether that be a sneaky handball, a shove in the back or a scything tackle that puts the fear of God into any opponent.
And it is the aforementioned rough and tumble that we will concentrate on today as we bring you our top ten of the most ruthless players ever to grace an Italian field of play.
9 – Fernando Couto
The huge former FC Porto centre-back was carved from stone and became a hit in Italy, after joining Nevio Scala’s exciting and hugely successful Parma team in the mid-1990s.
Playing alongside the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Gianfranco Zola, Fabio Cannavaro and Faustino Asprilla, Couto was the bedrock of the Gialloblu defence.
A ferocious tackler, who was equally immense in the air, the Portugal international was only ever interested in winning the ball, but was equally happy taking out the player if the ball was unavailable.
Featuring also for Lazio, whilst at the Stadio Olimpico, Couto took out his aggression not only on rival players but also fellow squad members and even supporters.
Most famously, a Biancoceleste training session during the 1998-1997 campaign was suspended as the curly-haired hard man had to be pulled away from current Inter boss Roberto Mancini, as the stylish forward was unhappy with a rather robust challenge from his so-called team mate.
There was nothing ever chicken about this Nando…