Best Italian soccer players of all time

 

 

As I have told you before in one of the other articles I’ve written for this blog, I love soccer, and most of us Italians do, too. I’ve decided to write a short post about my favorite soccer players of all time, all of whom are from Italy. That shouldn’t be a surprise, though, and you were probably expecting them to be from the Boot.

Claudio Gentile is the first player I’d like to tell you about. Despite the fact that was extremely physical, he never got a red card in his entire career, which is a notable thing to mention given that we tend to get a bit warm-blooded, especially if we have a disagreement with somebody. Some of the greatest defensive performances belonging to Gentile were against Brazil, Argentina, as well as West Germany, and all of these have helped Italy get the World Cup in 1982.

Sandro Mazzola is another extraordinary name you should have heard about. He scored 70 caps and 22 goals all throughout his career, but what I personally find most impressive about the man is that his father was also a professional soccer player who unfortunately died in the Superga disaster. Mazzola continued the legacy of his parent and helped Italy with its performance in the World Cup of 1970, although Pele was the one who ruined it for us.

Francesco Totti is one of my all-time favorite soccer players from Italy. He scored 58 caps and 9 goals, but the fact of the matter is that what I found absolutely spectacular about his career was his contribution to the European Championship of 2000. If it hadn’t been for Zinedine Zidane, Italy would have won the competition, without a doubt. These two had another third-degree meeting in 2006, when Totti was the one that was left smiling as he received a winner’s medal at the end of the championship.

Alessandro Del Piero is a golden boy in every sense as he scored 91 caps and 27 goals all throughout his career. He played from 1995 to 2008 but his memorable performance remains the one he had in 2006, when he scored the second goal in the match against Germany. Italy went on to win the Championship and was eventually crowned the World Champion for the fourth time. That’s why Del Piero is still idolized even today!

Gianluigi Buffon plays even today in spite of the fact that he is not as young as he used to be. As is the case with Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti, he had the chance of playing in 2006, when Italy took home the winning trophy and Buffon managed to finish second in the FIFA World Player of the Year poll.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short list of my favorite Italian soccer players. If you have any, as well, be sure to tell me all about them in the comments!

Italian food is healthy for your body and mind

 

I come from a long line of Italians and while we do live in the United States now, I watched my mom and her sisters get in the kitchen all throughout my childhood. I enjoy preparing some simple dishes myself, although I have less time on my hands than they do now, especially as they’re retired. What I can say about this type of culinary tradition is that it is much healthier than most people would expect it to be.

On the one hand, most of the recipes that you might find in an Italian cookbook contain olive oil. Some argue that it’s not particularly healthy, but I feel compelled to note that when it consumed raw, olive oil can even help with the body’s liver health. While the classic recipe for pasta begins with some garlic fried in a bit of olive oil, we don’t always do that. Recipes differ from one another, and that’s why you might be surprised to find out that Italians use most of the olive oil they typical add to foods for dressing salads, grilled vegetables, and meats.

The main difference between the Greek cuisine and the Italian one consists of the cheese. While we do eat feta from time to time, it’s not one of our specialties. Instead, we prefer mozzarella cheese, one of the most well-known varieties on the surface of the earth, and that’s because it’s far healthier.

Tomatoes are something that you’re likely to find on our table, whether they are the major component in a pasta sauce or consumed as they are. Tomatoes are packed with vitamin C and other unique nutrients such as Vitamin and fibers. They’re fresh and can add a certain tang to every dish. I love them in salads and soups just as well as I like them in my pasta.

Italian cuisine is also characterized by simplicity. While most countries have adopted the whole pizza idea and have transformed it from a simple and easy to make specialty into a heavy and oil-rich type of food, if you go to Napoli, you’ll see that people still eat Pizza Margherita. What this means is that we like just a few toppings as long as the crust is made of the best flour. Just add some nice tomato sauce and mozzarella and you’re all done for pizza.

In areas where one might go out at sea and fish, we also consume loads and loads of seafood. Some of my relatives in Napoli go out and eat shellfish on a regular basis. Nothing tastes better than the salmon you cook for yourself in a pan with just two or three spices, believe me. Seafood and fish are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and healthy protein. These are just a few reasons but I could go on forever telling you why Italian cuisine is healthy.

When you start playing soccer, what are the pieces of equipment you’ll need?

 

 

Although soccer is a simple game that can be enjoyed using considerably little equipment, if you are to do more than kick a ball around in the grass with your friends, you have to invest in the right gear to properly represent your team during formal games. With the right collection of soccer gear, you can ultimately play better while being protected from injury or harm, since soccer is as much a physical sport as it is a great way to spend leisure time.

 

Nice gear for ladies

 

The soccer ball and goal

There’s a wide array of soccer balls on the market, varying both in quality and cost. It is best to invest in a medium-to-high quality soccer ball if you intend to play the sport quite frequently. A cheap ball is only good on the pocket but will easily get worn out or torn considering the amount and intensity of kicking it is going to get on the field. Besides, a good quality soccer ball offers long-term use so you basically get what you pay for. Do think about the feel and weight of the soccer ball as well. Hard balls are preferred by some seasoned players while softer balls are what beginners can grow from on their way to the big leagues.

Soccer play that is not conducted on an actual soccer field will have to be done using an improvised goal. Cones can serve as markers during quick, non-formal games, but they can be quite limited in functionality. Look for something mobile and small, such as a lightweight goal frame.

The soccer apparel

You can opt for either short-sleeved or long-sleeved soccer shirts. Regardless of the design, you’ll want the shirt to be made of durable material, since there will be instances of pulling and falling during play and the shirt has to be strong against ripping and tearing. For informal games, you have the option on what to wear, but real soccer teams are given their very own team shirt. Since pants can restrict free movement during the rough-and-tumble of soccer play, shorts offer a better option, as they keep you cool while allowing free mobility.

 

The soccer footwear

The choice of soccer shoes largely depends on the playing surface. Soccer cleats are the perfect choice for playing on grass fields since the cleats provide the needed grip against the soft surface. Lose the cleats when playing on artificial grass or hard surfaces. You can also use indoor soccer shoes when playing on hard surfaces.

You will also need a good pair of soccer socks. You want strong and thick socks that shield your feet from blisters. Some soccer players even put on two pairs of socks since the double layer reduces friction due to rubbing of the soles and ankles against the shoes. Look for long socks, ideally reaching up to the knees to hold the shin guards in place.

 
The soccer protective gear

Strapped around your lower leg, shin guards shield your shins against injury and excruciating pain due to accidental kicks, impacts or cuts. Remember how soccer can easily progress to rough-and-tumble play, so your shins are vulnerable to the wayward cleats of an opponent or even a teammate. The shin guards should be lightweight yet offer effective protection and should be worn regardless of your age or playing ability. I don’t venture into the field without them. I have had to play goalkeeper a few times, so I had to get myself a pair of quality goalkeeper gloves to provide a good grip on the ball and to protect my hands when I need to punch or catch the ball.

 

 

Why soccer is so popular in Europe

 

 

Soccer, just like any sport, derives its popularity from a cultural perspective. By this I mean a people’s extent of exposure to the sport throughout their own lives is a greater influence in its popularity than just the random observations they make on the playing rules or the call of the referees.

The importance of soccer in Europe as well as throughout the world is primarily thanks to the imperialist activity of England in the mid-late 19th century. Born into the public school system of England, the sport became widespread in Europe when the schoolboys from those very institutions worked as merchants and sailor. Because they visited and eventually settled in trade centers all over the globe, the schoolboys-turned sailors-and-merchants also brought with them their favorite pastimes and the educational systems they were instructed in.

 

The greater amount of leisure time that the European working classes enjoyed in the speedily broadening territories of cities was responsible for the burgeoning popularity of the sport during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was pretty easy to adopt by the working class because of the sport’s ready accessibility and low playing costs due to the need for very little equipment, along with the simple game rules.

Soccer has not readily caught on in popularity in a select number of countries because those countries had been opposed to or did not readily embrace English (especially) and other foreign cultures and influence. You might call the opposition to adopting the sport due to the imperialistic or oppressive image of England to the nations that fought against it. These nations include the USA, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, the entire southern Asia region, and the Caribbean.

The sporting culture of America finds its roots in institutions of higher education as well. During the late 1800’s, that culture may have held a resemblance to the English originator but there was a noticeable schism in terms of the rules of soccer before they got formally set. The public schools of England in the 19th century may have established their influence in the games of American soccer, rugby and football but the strong resistance against American aristocracy and its universities brought forth the veering away of American football from other forms of the sport. Soccer only re-emerged on the American sports scene due to world economic globalization as well as the heavy cosmopolitanism that went with communication networks, and most notably, because of the exodus of Latin American immigrants into US shores.

Find out about me

Welcome to my blog! My name is Maurizio, and I come from a long line of Italians who’ve migrated to the United States. I’ve decided to start using this virtual space in order to share my passions for good food and good sports. As you know, we Italians are pretty good at soccer, and I used to be as well, at least when I was in high school. This has changed now that I have a full-time job, but I still enjoy getting as much exercise as possible. What I do for this is jog two or three times a week, depending on how much time I have available. Also, I like kicking back with my two little boys and watching some boxing matches on Sundays. While I do not condone alcohol consumption in any way, nothing seems to be more relaxing than enjoying a beer on the couch and watching boxing at the same time.

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Because I like to stay in shape, I don’t binge-eat and never buy food whose ingredients I can’t understand. It’s pretty difficult for a rather active person like me to become a vegetarian, although I have been considering it for some time now. While I have managed to give up eating red meat, I just can’t live without a nice piece of grilled chicken. I find that it gives me the energy that I need before a workout session, particularly as I have recently joined a boxing studio. I’m also looking for ways to integrate this kind of exercise in my personal routine, which is why I’ll be buying a heavy bag in the future.

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As you can imagine, Italians eat a lot of pasta and pizza. Even though many people think of pizza as unhealthy fast food, I really couldn’t disagree more. If you stick to the basics and add just two or three toppings, pizza can be pretty healthy. Of course, you shouldn’t eat it too often, but maybe once a week or every other week. Try to keep your food as simple as possible, so even if you eat pasta, for instance, just have it with some nice tomato sauce that you’ve cooked yourself, add some basil, and skip the cheese. This way, you won’t have to eat any unnecessary calories. I’ll detail some of my experiments in the kitchen at a later date.

Hope you’re able to learn something from the time that you’ll spend on my blog.