Italian football players are known for being daring, bold – and controversial. They have played a pivotal role in the Premier League throughout the years – affecting games like no others. Italian players have been some of the most successful imports in English football. Indeed, when there’s a good Italian playing for a team, you can find good markets & bet on football at Boyle Sports where the odds tell the tale themselves. Footie fans love them – and football betting fans love betting on them.
Here, we will look at the seven best Italian football players to ever play in the English Premier League.
Gianfranco Zola – Chelsea
Zola played for Chelsea between 1996 and 2003 – and his seven seasons at the top London club ensured he would be remembered forever as one of the greatest Italians to ever play for an English team. His finesse on the ball was unrivalled. He could easily tear past the defence to score – and he did so more than 50 times in the Premier League. As Chelsea’s poster boy of the 1990s and 2000s, he helped them to win six trophies.
Benito Carbone: Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa, Bradford City, Derby County and Middlesborough
Benito Carbone played in England between 1996 and 2002 for several clubs. During his six seasons in the Premier League, he scored over 40 goals – and was known for excellent team play and his ability to score. His finest moments were for Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford City, especially with his legendary striking partnership with Di Canio.
He was a consistent goal scorer and was a key contributor to Aston Villa’s journey to the FA Cup final in the 1999-2000 season.
Roberto Di Matteo – Chelsea
Born in Switzerland, Matteo played for Italy, earning 34 caps for the team. He played for Chelsea between 1996 and 2001 as a key player in both attack and defence.
Although he is probably most well-known for his time as the Chelsea gaffer when the team won the 2012 Champions League, he has also made quite an impact on the club as a player. He scored twice during English domestic cup finals and also helped the Blues to the 1997-98 Cup Winners’ Cup.
Massimo Maccarone – Middlesbrough
Maccarone played for Middlesborough between 2002 and 2007, joining the league as a relative unknown. It was his talent as a centre forward that was key to the team’s rise in the early 2000s.
Under Steve McLaren, Maccarone played with numerous international stars including Viduka, Hasselbaink and Rochemback to help the team become a real fighting force – and get them to the 2006 UEFA Cup Final. He left the Premier League in 2007, having scored 18 times in 80 league games.
Francesco Baiano – Derby
Baiano played for Derby between 1997 and 1999 and was named the team’s Player of the Year in 1998. He made 64 appearances for the team in all. He was a fan favourite during their final successful time in England’s top league. He scored many a good goal to earn his place as one of the best Italian footballers in the EPL.
Paulo Di Canio: Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Charlton Athletic
Di Canio played in the Premier League between 1997 and 2004. This was a man that was loved and hated by footballing fans. He was a divisive character known for red cards, fights, volatility – and goals.
He scored 73 goals in the Premier League – and love him or not… he is certainly a name that belongs on the list.
Gianluca Vialli – Chelsea
Playing for the Blues between 1996 and 999, he was sheer class. He was all about the goalscoring. Vialli reached double figures in his debut season and became a club favourite. He was asked to become Chelsea player-manager – and this was the start of a new era for the team. He netted 29 goals whilst also acting as manager.
He was a revered team player right up until his final strike in 1999 against Derby County – and remained as their manager until 2000.
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