You will have certainly looked at Italy, a few hours ago, screaming against those players who made themselves overtaken by Costa Rica in the second game of the Brazilian World Cup in 2014 ; but, for once, let’s forget the strict topicality – also because it’s not the most rosy – and remember how things went eight years ago, at the German World Cup that saw us winners: remember Lippi’s National one? Remember the goals of Grosso and Materazzi, the closings of Cannavaro, the injuries, the changes, the formations? And the heroes of that World Cup?
But what happened to those protagonists? Some still play, between the national team (Buffon, Barzagli, De Rossi, Pirlo) and Serie A ( Totti, Toni, Gilardino, Zaccardo), others continue to make themselves known through television commercials or adventures on the bench (Inzaghi, Del Piero, Gattuso); but what happened to all the others? Where have those who we haven’t heard of for years gone? We have selected five players from that team who have played an important role in the German World Cup but whose tracks have been lost for some time: let’s see where they are and what they do today.
The hero of the World Cup who now trains Juventus’ Spring
Fabio Grosso is probably the living proof of the fact that the World Cup can completely change I’m not saying people, but certainly the players. Until Lippi was summoned, in fact, the full-back who then played in Palermo was a decent twenty-eight-year-old player who had known few glories.
he had started in C2 with Chieti and then had suddenly made the big leap to almost 24 years old, swooping into Serie A thanks to that Perugia who loved to go and get talents in the minor leagues; in general, he had only a handful of appearances in the UEFA Cup on the international record and, after three games in which he had been “tested” in 2003. he had returned to the national team just for the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers, although they often had favorite other players like Favalli, Pancaro, Chiellini.
In Germany, he had to be a supporting actor, but he became the hero of the competition, especially in the knockout stage: in the difficult round of 16 with Australia he gained the penalty at 93 ‘. in the semifinal with Germany, he scored the first of the two goals that allowed us to reach the final. in penalties with France, he finally scored the decisive goal for the victory of the World Cup.
After that exhilarating experience, he immediately went to Inter, where, however, he played a year that did not live up to expectations. he agreed to move to Lyon, where he was the protagonist in the conquest of the Scudetto in his first year in France.
In 2009 he returned to Italy, to Juventus of Ciro Ferrara, but after a good first season, he was relegated to the margins of the squad both in the year of Delneri and especially with Conte. In 2012, released from the club, he then retired from competitive activity, immediately enrolling in the Coverciano course to become a coach. obtained his license in July 2013, he immediately became deputy coach of Juventus Spring, then taking over in May of this year from Andrea Zanchetta as head coach.
World Cup holder, released by Antonio Conte
He was not as the protagonist as Grosso, but Vincenzo Iaquinta also did his part at the German World Cup: he made five appearances, also entering the semifinals and the final, and scored a goal in the 2-0 victory against Ghana. At the time of the call, he was the brightest player in that Udinese who also gained participation in the Champions League, a team in which he played since 2000 after various experiences in the minor leagues; in Udine, he would have had another year, before moving on to Ranieri’s Juventus who had just returned to Serie A after the year of Purgatory followed by Calciopoli.
The first two seasons of black and white were positive; then came a long stop for an operation on the meniscus, which also partially reiterated in 2010/11. He also participated – as a starter – in the failed expedition to South Africa in 2010, scoring a penalty goal against New Zealand, his last experience with the blue shirt. But it was above all with the arrival on the bench of Antonio Conte that his destiny to Juventus was sealed: sent first on loan to Cesena, he was then also relegated quickly to the margins of the squad, ending up not even being assigned the jersey number.
Released at the end of the 2012/13 season, last January he was in talks to go to Lugano in the Swiss Serie B. but in the end, nothing was done; the latest information still gives him looking for an engagement for the next season.
The full back who now trains in Switzerland
The protagonist in Germany, but the author of a splendid career even after the victory of that World Cup was Gianluca Zambrotta, midfielder demoted to the role of full-back and able to establish himself as one of the strongest players in the world. At the time of the expedition to German soil, it was already a column of the national team and Juventus, in which he had played more than two hundred games in seven seasons, winning four league titles – two of which were then withdrawn – and a Champions League final.
In the national team he had already participated in the Europeans of 2000 (those lost to the golden goal with France in the final) and then as owner of the 2002 World Cup – leaving injured due to a murderous foul in the eighth against Korea directed by Byron Moreno – and to the unfortunate European Championships in 2004, but his long international career would also have been enriched by the European Championships in 2008 and the 2010 World Championships, concluding a decade of the absolute protagonist.
In Germany he scored a fantastic goal with Ukraine at the opening (then also seasoned by an assist for the 3-0 final), but returned home he found himself with his club team relegated to Serie B, unable to pay the salary his squad of champions: for this reason he was sold, together with his teammate Lilian Thuram to Barcelona, where he stayed for two seasons, before managing to return to Italy, hired by Milan. He played for four more seasons with the Rossoneri, winning a league title, before leaving the team at the end of the 2011/12 championship.
After a year off, during which he also attended Coverciano’s courses to become a coach, he signed for Chiasso in the Swiss Serie B, holding the double role of player and assistant coach. After just three months, however, he took over the manager, effectively withdrawing from the activity as a player and leading the team to unexpected salvation.
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Mauro German Camoranesi
The Orlando that in Argentina has rediscovered a riotous character
If the first three champions we presented have always remained good or bad close to Italy, the fourth has put an entire ocean between him and our country. On the other hand, Mauro Germán Camoranesi was not exactly an Italian player from the beginning: born and raised in Argentina, he arrived in our country in 2000, at almost 24 years of age, purchased from Verona where Attilio Perotti had just taken the place of Cesare Prandelli.
He played two seasons with the Scaligeri, then moved on to Marcello Lippi’s Juventus, where he played for eight years in a row, also accepting the relegation to Serie B and taking Italian citizenship in 2003 thanks to a grandfather from the Marche who emigrated to Argentina in the late nineteenth century: He was able to make his debut in the National team in that same year, convened by Giovanni Trapattoni, and then participate in the 2004 European Championships, the 2006 World Cup – in which he played as an immovable holder, the 2008 European Championships and again at the 2010 World Championships.
At the end of that last season, now thirty-four, he left Juventus and moved to Germany to Stuttgart. where he played only a few months. already terminating the contract in January soon after he returned to play in Argentina, first with Lanús, then with the Racing Club Avellaneda, where he always found a starting position but where he also made himself the protagonist of some episodes of nervousness being involved in at least a couple of occasions in brawls on the pitch and in the changing rooms.
Last February he announced his retirement at the end of the season, as he is now close to turning 38, but some statements about the too defensive mentality of the Racing technician, Reinaldo Merlo, led him to end up out of the squad a few months before the end of his contract.
The Golden Ball adopted by the United Arab Emirates
We conclude with Fabio Cannavaro, the one who at the 2006 World Cup was the captain of the Azzurri, as well as winner of the Ball of Gold, the last of the Italians to reach this important milestone and only the third ever defender after Franz Beckenbauer and Matthias Sammer. Born in 1973, the Neapolitan defender in Berlin was one of the most “seasoned” players. the same age as Filippo Inzaghi and Marco Materazzi and only surpassed by Angelo Peruzzi for seniority nevertheless. he showed an impressive athletic freshness, making up for the injury of his teammate Alessandro Nesta and proving himself the true and undisputed defensive leader of the team.
After growing up and making his debut for Napoli, Cannavaro had joined Parma in 1995, playing seven seasons in yellow and blue-crowned by the victory of two Italian Cups and one UEFA Cup. meanwhile, after having conquered two Under-21 European Championships, he had also made his debut in the national team, earning the jersey as a holder already at the 1998 World Cup in France and keeping it in all subsequent international events (so much so that he would have ended his career with even 136 appearances in blue, first for games played at the time of retirement and now second, passed by Buffon).
At club level, after Parma he had gone to Inter, where he played two seasons undertone, only to then go to Juventus to reform the defensive trio with Buffon and Thuram who had made Parma’s fortune at the time. After Calciopoli he was sold, together with Emerson, to Real Madrid, winning two consecutive Spanish championships. Returning to Juventus in 2009, he decided after a year to go and play for Al-Ahli, the Dubai team, with whom he played a championship, then joining the management staff.
Last season, after attending the course in Coverciano, he was the assistant coach of the same team of the United Arab Emirates. Second to the Romanian Cosmin Olaroiu, former coach of Steaua. During these World Cups, he is working as a commentator for English TV.