England are preparing to face Italy later this evening and it got me wondering, what happened to all the good Italian players in the Premier League?
The current high profile Italian in the league is Mario Balotelli, and he hasn’t reached the heights of any of the five players below.
Gianfranco Zola - Chelsea
Premier League Appearance: 229
Premier League Goals: 59
The crafty little Italian currently holds the record number of appearances for an Italian player in the Premier League, and to this day many songs are sung about him in the stands at Stamford Bridge.
Paolo Di Canio - Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic
Premier League Appearances: 190
Premier League Goals: 66
Paolo Di Canio was a real character of the game and was loved by many in the Premier League. Di Canio is the leading Italian goal-scorer in the Premier League and even tried his hand at managing.
Roberto Di Matteo - Chelsea
Premier League Appearances: 119
Premier League Goals: 15
Di Matteo came through with Zola at Chelsea and even though he only played half the amount of games for the club, he managed to score in three cup finals and later on coached them to Champions League glory.
Carlo Cudicini - Chelsea and Tottenham
Premier League Appearances: 161
Cudicini is almost one of those forgotten players in the Premier League, but was arguably the best Italian keeper to play in England. He also won the Chelsea Player of the Year award in 2002.
Gianluca Vialli – Chelsea
Premier League Appearances: 58
Premier League Goals: 21
Vialli was a real club legend at Chelsea, as he scored goals and ended up managing them at one point. In England, he won the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
Can you think of any other Italians that were more successful than Balotelli in the EPL?