Best Italian Football Players in 2023

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 10. prosinca 2023.


Not that far removed from their Euro 2020 triumph (which happened in 2021, of course), yet Italy's strength and rank in football seems to be diminishing. Even with Inter reaching a Champions League final in 2023. Yet the glaring hole of missing back-to-back World Cups can't be understated or overlooked. However, Italian footballing culture still holds a lot of value globally. This is why listing the best Italian football players in 2023 - or any following year for that matter - will warrant attention.

With four World Cup triumphs (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006) and two Euros (1968, 2020), the Italian national team is certainly one of the biggest footballing dynasties in international waters.

Having a distinct style of looking at the game, with tactics as the primary lens, and defence as the second, Italian football is distinct and as widely beloved as its food. But unlike in the kitchen, the Italians are more willing to modernize in football. As we can clearly see by the best Italian footballers right now!

#10 Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli)

Giovanni Di Lorenzo

A late bloomer. Few expected Giovanni Di Lorenzo to be unanimously lauded as one of the best Italian football players of his generation, yet here we are. A player who as many games in Serie B, C, and D combined as in Serie A turned into Napoli's captain that lifted the Scudetto after decades of nothing but fool's hope. The right-back's quick rise is best seen in his national team duty, as he made his debut in 2019, and then played in all but one game of the triumphant Euros. Hence, the 30-year-old has 32 games for Italy. A Scudetto, an Italian Cup, and the Italian championship.

#9 Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma)

Leonardo Spinazzola

The spiritual hero of the Euro 2020. As symbolic of the triumph as the "Notti Magiche" song that echoed around the Old Continent as the Azzuri were winning their way to a trophy. Spinazzola was named the Man of the Match in two of the tournament's early games, before being stretchered off the pitch with an ACL injury in the quarter-finals. The now-Roma wing-back turned left-midfielder has 24 caps for Italy, with six assists. Another typical nomadic Italian player - having changed many clubs, his playing style is all but typical for his country or overall. As the dashing dribbles along the left side are what modern football is missing desperately.

#8 Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo)

Domenico Berardi

Aged 29, it's a proper wonder that Domenico Berardi never left Sassuolo. Rumours of Juventus' interest were always looming, yet the versatile player stayed with the green-and-black side, performing mostly on the right wing. But occasionally filling out other roles in attacking positions. Berardi has an amazing statistical return for Sassulo, with 140 goals and 94 assists in 365 games. One season happened in Serie B, though. Yet in the first division, Berardi has 203 goal involvements in 309 matches! For a mid-table team! He has collected 28 caps for the national team overall, playing in all but one match of the 2020 Euros. Berardi also gave his compatriots confidence by scoring the first penalty of the final’s shootout against England.

#7 Sandro Tonali (Newcastle United)

Sandro Tonali

Alongside the #1 man on our list of best Italian football players in 2023 and the missing Nicolo Zaniolo, Sandro Tonali was considered the biggest talent of this generation of Italian footballers. Reminding everyone of Andrea Pirlo on first glance due to his hair and where he started his pro career (Brescia), the midfielder looked up more to a different AC Milan legend - Gennaro Gattuso. At the tender age of 23, Tonali already collected 130 appearances for Rossoneri, scoring seven and assisting 13 goals, winning a Scudetto too! Yet he is the only player on this list of best Italian football players in 2023 who wasn't a part of the 2020 Euros triumph. Hopefully making him hungrier to build up on his 15 caps for Italy. Yet, the defensive midfielder has a rough road ahead as he will pause a year due to a ban enforced upon him as he was caught gambling on sports.

#6 Federico Chiesa (Juventus)

Federico Chiesa vs Zenit 2021-10-20 (cropped2).jpg
By Kirill Venediktov - https://www.soccer.ru/galery/1287369/photo/932351, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The man for whom everyone expected to be the number one Italian player when he burst upon the scene. Aged 26, Federico Cheisea rarely looks like the potential world-class player he was before the major ligament tear injury in his knee. The left-winger was amazing for Fiorentina, scoring 34 goals and making 25 assists in 153 games. For Juve, the numbers didn't rise to accommodate the massive fee The Old Lady eventually paid, ranging in the €80,000,000 mark with 26 goals and 22 assists in 107 games. Yet Chiesa is still one of the very best Italy has. But the time is ticking before even the Turin club loses patience with him as they did with Federico Bernardeschi before him. For Italy, Chiesa provided seven goals and seven assists, winning the Euro while counting to 44 caps. Yet even though he moved to Juve in 2020 to bolster the team's Champions League chances, he has yet to hold a Scudetto but has won a Cup and a Supercup.

#5 Marco Veratti (Al-Arabi)

Marco Veratti

Out of Europe, but certainly can’t be forgotten that quickly not to make the cut for the 10 best Italian football players in 2023. Despite the frequent injuries, Marco Verratti managed to get 416 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain. He might not have been the most famous player at Parc des Princes during its first glory days, but he was the glue that held it all together. Winning nine Ligue 1 titles and 12 cups total! With 61 assists from a deep-lying playmaker position, Verratti provided the strong spine needed for a club boasting such attacking talent like PSG. All while coming from Delfino Pescara 1936! Having not played for a single major Italian club. Something Serie A executives must feel collective shame for.

His injuries stopped him from getting more caps for Italy, but 55 of them were enough for a European champion title.

#4 Alessandro Bastoni (Inter)

Alessandro Bastoni

Alessandro Bastoni is 24 years old and we seriously considered putting him in the top 3 of the best Italian football players right now. That's how good the left-footed centre-back is already, with 177 appearances for Inter already, getting three goals and 14 assists as CB. getting one Scudetto, two cups, and two Supercups since joining Nerazzurri in 2017 for €31,000,000! The 190 cms tall player also represented Parma and Atalanta. He was a part of the Euro 2021 squad, playing only the last game of the group, yet with 21 caps already, he has cemented his future in the national team.

#3 Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Ciro Immobile

From 2008, until 2020, only three players won the European Golden Boot: Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Then, Ciro Immobile counted to 36 goals in the 2019/2020 Serie A season and proved his class that was commonly discredited outside the Boot due to flops at Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla. But Ciro's sheer numbers at Lazio can't be overlooked, the 33-year-old striker has 203 goals and 53 assists in 316 games for the capital team. Winning one cup too. He was Serie A's top goalscorer in four seasons! But most importantly, he was the primary striker in the unsuspected Euro 2020 triumph.

Yet Ciro is also another player on this list who didn't collect that many caps for his national team, representing Italy 57 times and returning only 17 goals.

#2 Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain)

Gianluigi Donnarumma

Besides their traditional focus on tactics and defence, the Italians have a long successful history of producing top-notch goalkeepers. Gianluigi Donnarumma is of the same age as a few of the talented men around him in the rankings for the best Italian football players in 2023. Yet he was touted as talented long before him. That's why, at the age of 24, Donnarumma has 251 appearances for AC Milan, and 91 for Paris Saint-Germain! With 120 clean sheets kept! Donnarumma is also the player with the most caps for Italy out of all these men, many of whom are five and more years older. But Gianluigi got to 60 caps in no time, playing every minute at the Euros 2020 too.

On a club level, the goalie won two Ligue 1 titles, and a Supercup in both Italy and France.

#1 Nicolo Barella (Inter)

Nicolo Barella

Inter’s success in the Champions League makes a lot more sense considering they are the only club on this list of top Italian footballers that have two men in their squad. Having all the necessary characteristics for a world-class midfield player, Barella has already played 334 club games at the age of 26. So durability and natural fitness are not a question. Nicolo also scored 28 goals, and made 53 assists operating from the centre. After playing for Cagliari and Como, a move to Inter followed in 2019, firstly as a loan and then as a transfer, rounding up to €44,500,000 paid. Already, Barella won the Scudetto, two Italian Cups, and two Italian Supercups. Of course, with the Euros the crown of his achievements too.

Barella has performed exemplary for his country too, as in 51 games he has eight goals and nine assists.

Out of these 10 best Italian football players in 2023, seven still play in the domestic championship. The ultra-rich PSG until recently had two of them in the locker room, NUFC got the arguably biggest talent of the generation. Clear evidence of the financial struggles Italian sides have to battle through. Yet one thing is certain, the talent mine is still rich and the upcoming cart looks even better.




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