By Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)
Francesco Totti– Roma
What more can be said about this iconic footballer. Known as Il Principe (The Prince) he is about to embark on his 21st professional season in the capital at the tender age of 38. Totti is the second highest scorer in the history of Serie A with 243 goals and who would bet against him taking the record from the legendary Silvio Piola who leads the way with 275. Throughout his career, Totti has remained loyal to the club he grew up supporting as a boy despite numerous offers from Europe’s biggest clubs.He is still the heartbeat of the team, the darling of the tifosi and a World Cup winner. He has stated that he wants to continue playing until he is 40 to try to give his beloved club a third Italian championship.
Gianluigi Buffon – Juventus
When the 37-year-old moved from Parma to Juventus in 2001 for €49.2 million he became the most expensive goalkeeper in the history of the game. 14 years later and he still holds that title as he proves season after season, that he is still one of the world’s best. Buffon has won seven Italian league championships with the Old Lady and is a veteran of five World Cup Finals, winning football’s ultimate prize in 2006 in Germany. He has been capped for his country 148 times and after almost winning an historic treble last season, his hunger for success continues to grow and grow.
Antonio Di Natale – Udinese
In 2004,Udinese paid Empoli €100,000 for striker Antonio Di Natale in what has proved to be one the greatest signings of the modern era in Serie A. The 37-year-old is quite simply devastating in front of goal netting 189 times in 362 appearances for the club from North East Italy. Born in Naples, Di Natale came to prominence whilst playing for Empoli at the turnof the century. His 11 years at the Stadio Friuli have been phenomenal and he looks set to continue to worry the best defences in Serie A after turning down lucrative offers to go and play in the MLS.
Stefano Sorrentino – Palermo
From a career that started at Lazio and Juventus, the 36-year-old Palermo goalkeeper is a wonderful example of how hard work can be rewarded with a career in top-flight football. Sorrentino gained vital first team experience in the lower echelons of Italian football and ended up wearing the captain’s armband for Palermo after they won promotion back to Serie A in 2014. The man from Salerno was also an integral part of the Chievo team who surprised everyone after their return to Serie A in 2008, by retaining their top-flight status the following season – he went onto make 131 appearances for the Flying Donkey’s.
If you were to take a quick survey of Sampdoria supporters and asked them who their most iconic ever player was you may be in for a surprise. For a club that has showcased the talents of GianlucaVialli, Roberto Mancini and Vincenzo Montella, there is a pretty good chance that current midfield stalwart Angelo Palombo would finish top of the list. Ready to embark on his 14th season at the club, the 33-year-old midfield warhorse gives every ounce of energy he has for the team every time he pulls on the famous Samp jersey. He was tempted away from the port city once, joining up with Inter Milan on loan in January 2012, but he knew where his heart really belonged and he was back at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris for the start of the following season.