A few weeks ago, we did the "Worst XI of the Noughties" profiling the awful busts to have haunted our locker rooms, and given the recent pile of crap otherwise known as Juventus FC attempts to play football, it's high time for something to make us smile a bit. Below is my personal starting XI of the decade, and I'd love to know what you disagree with and how you'd fashion it! Considered in the list is a variety of things, but whether a player disgraced himself by ditching us doing Calciopoli is not considered. There are two of them. The formation is a 4-3-1-2, as the 4-4-2 only has brought us moderate success. Full team after the jump.
Gianluigi Buffon- Well, the alternative to him is notables such as Van der Sar, Chimenti, and maybe longtime servant Michelangelo Rampulla. Other than being the best damn keeper in the world, he kind of wins by default. Can you believe Gigi is playing his 9th season at Juve?
Gianluca Zambrotta- For several years, Zambrotta was probably the best right-back in the world. He doesn't score a whole lot of goals, but he was a great wingback who put in plenty, and I mean plenty, of assists. The defending took a little while to get perfected, as his career started at Como and Bari as a winger, but he got it down. Beautiful crosses, and always a threat coming down the flanks. Of all the players who left during Calciopoli, Zambrotta was the one that surprised me the most. He had been there the longest, and he seemed like a real Bianconero. Now, he plays for Milan, and poorly I might add.
Lilian Thuram- Another one of the Calciopoli-fleers, Thuram was one of the best defenders of his era, and that is no mean feat in a time with some of the defenders of his time. He sometimes played at right-back, but as his Juve career progressed he was a mainstay at center-back and is quite possibly France's best defender of all time. Moved to Barcelona with Zambrotta after Calciopoli, and nearly signed with PSG before a scan revealed a defect in his heart, he was lucky to have survived his whole career. The scan was a sad ending to a great career, and more evidence of the fine medical staff we have in Torino that never picked it up.
Ciro Ferrara- However much some people may hate him now, there's no doubt Ciro is one of the best defenders in the history of Juve, though his role is somewhat forgotten due to his unfortunate injury-plagued Azzurri career. A stalwart of the backline for 9 years, he won an impressive 8 Scudetti in his career, a Uefa Cup, a Champion's League, a smattering of SuperCoppas, and two Coppa Italias. A defensive legend, and regardless of what happens with his coaching career, let's never forget that.
Paolo Montero- Sort of fielded out of position at left-back, though the tough Uruguayan sometimes played at left-back, most notably in the 2003 Champion's League final against Milan, while Ferrara played alongside Tudor at CB. (Thuram was playing RB) Tough as nails, but don't let that fool you: he was no Materazzi, aka untalented and generally a hooligan, Montero was tough, but he was an excellent defender as well. His Uruguayan temper got the best of him on a number of occasions, and he currently holds the Serie A record for most amount of red cards, though with good humor. Ironically, his best friend on the team was quiet little Gianluca Pessotto.
Antonio Conte- The captain of Juventus for many years, and all around brilliant central midfielder. Pass, shoot, defend, he had it all. The brains of the Juventus midfield for nearly a decade, Conte has gone on to a moderately successful coaching career and perhaps one day will return to Torino. A famously loyal and determined player.
Edgar Davids- If Conte was the brains of the midfield, than Davids was the lungs. During the late 90s and early 2000s, Davids was seen in his famous goggles, constantly running up and down the pitch, defending like a pitbull and opening space up with his endless endurance. "My one-man engine room," as Lippi famously labelled him. After leaving Juventus in early 2004, he tried his luck at Barcelona, Inter, Tottenham, and back at Ajax to little success.
Pavel Nedved- His Juventus career spanned the entire decade, only missing one season at both of the bookends. One of the greatest midfielders to ever wear the Juventus shirt, we miss his work ethic, his brilliant passing, and of course, his bombing goals from midfield. We could really use him this season, and I'm sure playing as a central midfielder as he occasionally did, he could have prolonged his career alla Ryan Giggs. He certainly had the footballing intelligence to do so, though he preferred to retire to spend time with his family.
Zinedine Zidane- He only played for a very small portion of the decade, but I have to put him in here as I personally regard him as the greatest player of all time. If the short time played in this decade is an issue, I'd put Nedved at trequartista and draft in Tacchinardi for central midfield.
Alessandro Del Piero- Is there any doubt? The greatest Bianconero of all time.
David Trezeguet- This should also be an obvious one, as Trezegol has been our starter for arguably all but one season during this decade, that of last year. I stated several times this summer that poaching instinct like Inzaghi's never dies, and after a few games to shake off the rust, Trez proved that, scoring goals when no other striker could. Best friends with Zambrotta during his time at Juve. Currently Juve's capocannoniere of the season, and in 4th place ahead of Omar Sivori for Juve's all time chart, only 10 goals behind Roberto Bettega and 14 behind Giampiero Boniperti.
Zambrotta Thuram Ferrara Montero
Conte Davids Nedved
Del Piero Trezeguet
Substitutes: Abbiati, Pessotto, Tudor, Chiellini, Tacchinardi, Camoranesi, Iaquinta
What changes would you make to the list?