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Zdeněk Zeman’s All-Time XI: The Best Italians to Play for the Bohemian

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We chose from a pool of players with 590 Italy caps between them, who owe their big break to Il Boemo.

SSC Napoli v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Aldo Biscardi: Could it really be possible that Zeman has allowed himself to single you out for criticism in this way?
Alexi Lalas: It’s also possible that Zeman can go **** himself.

If there is one man embraced by most Italians for how he took the life on the peninsula, it’s American midfielder Alexi Lalas.

Lalas may be the clean-cut, suit-and-tie former LA Galaxy president who brought David Beckham to the MLS in recent times, but there was an era where Lalas cared only for doing it his own way, and won Italian hearts with his committed approach to living carefree.

You don’t have to look any further than Lalas sledgehammering his way through Italian speech with unshakeable confidence, on Raimondo Vianello’s talkshow, where Lalas explains: “Italians find it very strange that I love to play guitar as much as I do, and everyone breaks my balls for this. But I’m a professional on the pitch and I play seriously.” Then tie-dye Lalas leans over to the impeccable, clean-cut, reigning Ballon D’Or winner Franco Baresi for support on Lalas’ final delivery: “So if it upsets Italians that I live this way then... me ne frega un c*zzo?”

ALEXI LALAS

That heart-on-sleeve approach had an audience full of middle-aged, suited men breaking out in applause for Lalas. And it was in that same mold that Lalas managed to be the first person to voice out loud, in February 1996, what half of the country had been thinking about Zdeněk Zeman’s meteoric rise to Serie A fame at the time.

If Zeman had crowned his prime coaching years with a league title at Lazio (he came close with a second place in 1995 and third place in 1996), we probably would have never heard the end of it. Asked for the fundamental key to his Lazio side taking Padova apart 3-1 on the road, Zeman singled Alexi Lalas as a player who “wasn’t suited to Italian football.”

Here was Zeman, half of the country ready to crown him as the king of calcio, momentarily showing contempt towards Lalas in that February of 1996, in a way that only one convert could condemn another convert within the same religion, competing for the house’s affection of most-loved adopted son.

Lalas wasn’t the most gifted player, but he never lacked heart in anyone of his 33 appearances for Padova. You couldn’t help but feel that this was Zeman just feeling like there’s only room for one “black sheep” of a foreigner in the calcio mainstream thought at the time. Was it OK to not like Zeman for this?

Lalas made it OK. He took exception to Zeman’s public comments, and Italy got to find out that Zeman actually has a great sense of humor when you push back at him. The rest was history, but we can’t let history overlook the fact that Zeman’s career—once you get past all the backpacker mystique surrounding it—holds more substance on the bottom line than maybe any other coach in Italian football history.

Chairmen and agents around Turin may not love Zeman, but club owners around the rest of peninsula certainly do. Just ask former Foggia owner Pasquale Casillo, who has 53 billion reasons (among others) to thank Zeman for some of the best years Casillo’s bank account has ever seen. That was the amount of Italian lire raised by selling off nearly the entire Foggia senior squad, after they recorded the club’s best ever league position, finishing 9th in Serie A (this after being in Serie D just three seasons prior) by the end of the 1991-92 season.

The never-ending wave of success had Casillo proclaiming, in the spring of ‘92, that he “wasn’t a livestock vendor” and that “no single Foggia player” would be leaving the squad at the end of the season, while Foggia were “in the process of building a team to compete with the likes of AC Milan” (who were the first club in Italy to win the league without losing a single game at the time). It was Foggia’s final game of the season, hosting that very same AC Milan team, that would cause of drastic change of heart in Casillo—the likes of which makes James Pallotta’s promise not to sell Alisson look like a misdemeanour in comparison.

In true Zeman style, Foggia were buried 8-2 by Milan on their own ground. It’s hard to tell whether the Foggia fans chose to invade the pitch in the 88th minute out of anger, or really just trying to do their team a favor by stopping the embarrassment. But by the autumn of 1992, just a month into the next league campaign, Foggia ultras were defacing that very same pitch, in the dark of night, as a protest for having to watch most of that Foggia team being sold off.

In Casillo’s defense, even Zeman admitted he was embarrassed at the performance after that Milan defeat. But it was a drastic reaction to sell off all but four Foggia players that summer, all just for losing a meaningless dead-rubber league game at the end of the season. It seemed more likely that Casillo just wanted the money and had found his excuse to go back on his word to the fans, and even the four surviving players of that 1992 summer cull—Rosin, Codispoti, Consagra and Padalino—wanted out from the bad atmosphere surrounding the club.

Three of those four players were allowed to rescind their contract and leave for nothing, after all four men took their appeal to the Italian players’ association and won. Only Pasquale Padalino was forced to honor his contract with Foggia (imagine being the guy forced to stay on at summer school while all your classmates are swapped out for new ones), and he makes our Zeman Best Career XI below because—despite eventually leaving Foggia to go to better pastures elsewhere—Padalino would accept Zeman’s guidance in re-investing himself as one of Serie A’s best defenders of the 1990s. Before Padalino met Zeman at Foggia, the Italian had aspirations of being a midfielder.

It’s the making of careers that cements Zeman as the stuff of legend, not the huge sums of profit he generated for his clubs (the same which James Pallotta gratefully accepted from Zeman’s short-lived second stint at Roma, two decades later). Converted to today’s money, Foggia sold off their squad for €30 million in that summer of ‘92. That may not seem like a lot of money until you realize the world’s most expensive signing was Juventus striker Gianluca Vialli moving from Sampdoria for €14 million in that very same transfer window.

Juventus v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

But Zeman didn’t stop at coaching a team of lower-league unknowns to mid-table Serie A, nor watching them sold for twice the fee of the world’s most expensive player. What seals Zeman’s legend is he repeated the trick—dubbed ‘the Miraculous Foggia’ season of 92/93—by then replacing that team with a further bunch of Serie C (and below) rejects, misfits and outcasts to finish 12th place in the next league campaign. By some accounts, despite dropping three places in the league with a completely new squad, many people reckoned that Foggia were playing even better Serie A football at the second time of asking.

That’s when the world’s biggest clubs began to take notice of Zeman, for obvious reasons. You could make a shedload of money and get away with it. In Il Boemo’s own words on the Zemanladia documentary, he was courted by the likes of Inter Milan and even his eventual nemesis Luciano Moggi, before the two fell out over Zeman’s accusations of Juve player doping in the late 90s.

Like most coaches would, Zeman would eventually succumb to the temptation to run-and-gun at the top of Serie A. He decided he had enough of rebuilding Foggia and went onto coach the two big clubs in Rome, before getting himself blackballed by his claims against Juventus. He never repeated the spectacular financial success of that 1992 summer—football and the world got smaller, scouting became more sophisticated, zonal football became more predictable and, crucially, physical fitness began to be taken far more seriously by other clubs—but the number of careers that took off under Zeman (and the number of Italy national team caps those careers racked up!) never stalled.

Here’s our choice for Zeman’s Best Career XI (of course we chose 4-3-3!).

We tried to limit the names to players who either had a) their debuts under Zeman, (b) players who began collecting regular Serie A and/or Italy appearances under the Czech coach, or (c) players who have outright attributed their own career success to his coaching, in words and everything.

Even then, those are still a debatable set of three criteria. So feel free to contest the Best XIs below with your own take:

Zeman Best Italian XI (4-3-3)


Goalkeeper: Luca Marchegiani

Italian Soccer - Serie A - Inter Milan v Lazio Photo by Matthew Ashton/EMPICS via Getty Images

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: None
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 1
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 7

Background: This one is a bit of a “cheat code” to put in our eleven, since Marchegiani was already a well-established keeper at Torino, and a World Cup finalist with Italy at USA ‘94, by the time Zeman convinced Lazio to bring Marchegiani to the capital. But since Marchegiani himself praised Zeman as the most convincing coach he’s trained under (and since we only had a pick of three goalkeepers for this spot), we’ve slotted the former Lazio keeper in here.

Marchegiani never set the world on fire as a keeper, but that’s because he played in a time where his peers were Zenga, Pagliuca, Peruzzi, Toldo and even a teenage Buffon. That didn’t stop Marchegiani from winning Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year in the nineties, and winning several trophies with Lazio—including a historic 2000 league title. Though all of those trophies were won after Zeman left Lazio, with Sven Goran Eriksson managing the steady the ship from Zeman’s old tactics.

Marchegiani is also the Lazio keeper with the most appearances and most minutes unbeaten in goal. To make up for his Lazio history, we’d just say that Luca’s son Gabriele Marchegiani actually went on to graduate from the A.S. Roma youth academy in 2016. Luca commented only that his son has “made his choice”, when Gabriele chose to accept an offer from Roma scouts to come train at Trigoria.

What He Said on Zeman: “To make it so that a team believes in your idea of football, you have to have great charisma and substance. Zeman and Sacchi knew how to make [players] follow them, and how to get their concepts across. I played for Sacchi when he was Italy coach, and he was totally in love with Zeman, especially Zeman’s offensive moments and his mental picture of football, which was truly innovative.”

Right-Back: Marco Cassetti

AC Cesena v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Roberto Serra/Getty Images

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: €2.4 million
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 5
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 4

Background: One of my favorite right-backs, Marco Cassetti may never have managed to share his prime years in the Italian capital with Zeman, but he certainly made his career breakthrough under Il Boemo at Lecce. After becoming an unquestioned starter in Lecce’s central midfield for the 2003/04 season—one where Lecce managed to win the relegation battle and stay in Serie A—in comes Zeman to coach Lecce in the summer of 2004, with his grand ideas of converting Cassetti into a right-back.

Cassetti initially wasn’t having any of it, even calling up the president and threatening to leave the club, until Zeman promised Cassetti that he had no reason not to make the Italian national team within 12 months of playing right-back for Lecce. That promised was fulfilled when Cassetti made his Italy debut in March of 2005—the first-ever Lecce player to represent Italy at international level. A cut-price transfer to Roma then followed in the summer of 2006, and the rest is history.

What He Said on Zeman: “My first reaction when Zeman proposed I move back into the full-back role went really badly. I don’t even want to tell you about his preparation methods, which were devastating. It was the longest month of my life. We would hide what we had to eat, because everything was banned. There was very little to eat, especially in the first few days. We would eat dishes full of greens and little else. He told us those were important days to clean out our system but, in secret, we’d buy something else from the supermarket.

We would have made Europe that season, but there was a big difference between our performances from the first half to the second half of the season. Today I’m a coach and, looking back at that season, I would have given [Zeman] a little advice: His management of the entire squad wasn’t ideal. He obviously had his favourites. And Im saying this as someone who was an undisputed starter.

The reserve players were never taken into consideration, and then even criticised for their approach. In my view, when you manage to keep the whole group concentrated, we can all benefit from the freshness of the lads and push high up the table. But we played with no more than twelve or thirteen [first-team regulars]. Eremenko, for example, was a difference-maker with his country [on international duty] while he struggled to play within our tactics. He should have just been free to interpret the game in his own way of playing.

But am I proud to have been the only Lecce player to represent Italy? It’s definitely a point of pride for me, and I believe a point of pride for Lecce. I’m happy if Falco gets to play for Italy, but I will always be the first!”

Center-Back: Alessandro Nesta

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Second Stage Group D - Lazio v Leeds United Photo by Nick Potts/EMPICS via Getty Images

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: €32 million
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 78
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 12

Background: Another Roman, former Lazio captain, Lazio club legend, Milan club legend and arguably the most gifted centre-half of his generation. It’s often claimed that Zeman gave Nesta his debut at Lazio, but that isn’t the case. Nesta actually made one appearance in the spring of 1994, towards the end of the season under previous coach Dino Zoff, but it was Zeman who decided to shove several star-defensive signings out of the first eleven to make sure that a teenage Nesta got his first full season of Serie A action, months later. Zeman insisted Nesta really had something, and it's safe to say the gamble paid off.

When you’re as good as Nesta was, giving him his big break is a no-brainer. What's really annoying is that Roma scouts came to sign Nesta first, but Nesta's father was a Lazio fan who refused to pick up the phone when Trigoria called.

And so on went Nesta to become a World Cup winner, Champions League winner and winning every major trophy at professional level for his respective clubs. The only thing Nesta didn’t win was the European trophy with Italy, and yet he damn sure came close in that Euro 2000 final, extra-time loss to France.

What He Said on Zeman: “Zeman is an extraordinary coach, and I believe every player should hope to be trained by him, because he makes you better, he teaches you football and I think he’s the best at that.”

Center-back: Luigi Apolloni

Parma v Royal Antwerp - European Cup Winners Cup Final 1993 Photo by Alain Gadoffre / Onze / Icon Sport

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: None
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 15
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 4

Background: This was a tight one between several contenders (over four different decades) for this spot. We could have boosted our side's transfer value by slotting in Alessio Romagnoli alongside his idol Nesta, but we wouldn’t want both men fighting over the #13 jersey so we’re putting Apolloni here instead.

Apolloni stayed loyal to Tanzi’s Parma for well over a decade, and became a semi-regular Italy international at major tournaments during that time. His big break came under Zeman transforming his training methods, during Zeman’s short spell as Parma coach.

What He Said on Zeman: “I remember my experience with Zeman for the physical preparation above all else, which was very hard. One day I couldn’t run anymore because of two swollen blisters on my feet. When I told him, he replied: ‘What’s the problem? Take off your boots and keep training!” It was hilarious. Unfortunately the results on the pitch weren’t good, and Zeman was fired after the second matchday. We cried over it in the dressing room.”

Left-Back: Amedeo Carboni

Czech Republic v Italy - European Championship 1996 Photo by Alain Gadoffre / Onze / Icon Sport

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: €5 million
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 18
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 7

Background: Another one of my favorite full-backs, though I never got to see Carboni play in all his years with Roma and only got to know him much later on his rise to club-legend status with Valencia in La Liga. Carboni spent his ten years bouncing around on fruitless transfers between clubs, before he landed at Zeman’s Parma in the late eighties.

One pre-season of ZZ training was all it took, before a young Carboni earned major moves to Sampdoria (back when their were competing for league titles), A.S. Roma (fresh off a UEFA Cup final) and finally Valencia (where Carboni made two Champions League finals and won La Liga twice, among other major trophies).

What He Said on Zeman: “He’s an extraordinary person. Under him, I did the hardest pre-season of my entire life. I think all ideas should be respected in football, and he wants to win by playing the ball, not by playing for the counter-attack. He’s the best coach possible, especially for young players.”

Defensive Midfielder: Damiano Tommasi

FUSSBALL: UEFA CUP 00/01 AS ROM - HAMBURGER SV 1:0 Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: None
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 25
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 2

Background: Tommasi’s legacy with Roma should speak for itself, especially after Fabio Capello called Tommasi the “most important player” in Roma’s 2001 Scudetto-winning team (though that was more than likely a backhanded swipe at Totti from Capello, too). He was a ball-winner, with an eye for putting Roma immediately on the front foot on the attacking transition.

Tommasi himself has gone on record as saying (half seriously) that, though Totti was a talented player, Tommasi had two do twice the work behind him in order to get the team over the victory line. Today, Tommasi most recently stood down as president of the Italian players’ association, last year.

What He Said on Zeman: “The most important coach and the one I loved most was definitely Zdenek Zeman. Perhaps my opinion is influenced by the fact that he was the coach in a period of criticism and whistles. His confidence and his footballing belief made me fall in love.”

Midfielder: Luigi Di Biagio

E-AUTO-F1-AUT Photo credit should read PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP via Getty Images

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: None
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 32
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 0

Background: Always back-handedly referred to as the “hard worker” of 90s Italy midfielders (i.e. not as talented as the next guy), Di Biagio managed to be a mainstay of two major Serie A clubs while being an undisputed starter for Italy at international level. So he was no mug. He also started out at Lazio as an academy graduate (after giving up on a basketball career as point guard), but never jumped to the big time until he played for Zeman at Foggia.

Di Biagio does hold the oddity of joining Roma and Inter at times when both clubs won absolutely nothing, both times on free transfers, and both clubs starting to win trophies once Di Biagio left. But that isn’t to say he wasn’t an all-round midfield general, because he was every bit and then some. For that reason alone, he makes our first eleven even if our trophy count and transfer count take a hit.

Today, he’s the coach of the Italy U-21s and admits to regularly keeping tabs on any Italian youths that come under the wing of Il Boemo.

What He Said on Zeman: “[In my role under Zeman], you had to talk a lot [on the pitch], you’re always involved both in the attacking phase as much as the defensive phase, both on the left wing and on the right. It’s a role in which you have to string together different areas of the team. You’re always involved, even when you don’t have the ball at your feet.”

Midfielder: Marco Verratti

Italy Training Session & Press Conference Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: €12 million
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 18
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 27

Background: It’s surreal to see that Verratti is still only 28 years old today, with an estimated transfer value of €60 million. PSG were certainly thinking ahead when they snapped him up from Pescara for the bargain price of €12 million, a decade ago.

What can you really say about Verratti? His trophy cabinet is bloated from playing in a virtual one-team league, but that doesn’t make him any less accomplished or refined on the pitch.

What He Said on Zeman: “The year with Zeman changed my life. Before that I only came back to defend if someone was hurt. Then I started to think about football 24 hours a day, the little things that you can improve in your game to make a difference. It became a job, a responsibility. Nobody works like him. Sometimes, after training, I was throwing up from the effort of 20 miles of running. It’s like military training.”

Right-Wing: Marco Delvecchio

Roma v Lazio X

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: None
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 22
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 2

Background: It was a close call between Marco Delvecchio and Francesco Baiano for the role of defensive forward. Baiano would have brought more trophies to our Best XI, but Delvecchio easily trumps Baiano by becoming a first-choice Italy international during his heyday (including reaching that fabled Euro 2000 final where he scored key goals along the way).

Delvecchio was a huge flop under the weight of expecations at Inter Milan, where he was brought to the San Siro to be a goalscorer. Then Zeman rebuilt his career at Roma, and Delvecchio used his wafer-thin frame to work himself to the bone down that right flank, defending the wing like nobody’s business and making Totti, Montella and Batistuta look good in the process.

To be 100% honest, I never liked Delvecchio as a player and just didn’t get it at the time. But looking back in retrospect, he was the immense unsung hero for both club and country. He also loved to score goals against Lazio in the Derby.

What He Said on Zeman: “He’s a very nice coach and a true mate, he could seem like he’s hard to get along with but it’s the opposite. I remember he was always joking with Di Biagio, like he was his adopted son. Zeman was always ready with a joke, he was a lot of fun. When it came to work, he expected a lot. He would run training drills again and again, and then there were the physical training sessions that took away your desire to do anything else.”

Striker: Giuseppe Signori

AS Photo Archive Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: €8 million
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 28
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 1

Background: This was a hard one, as we had to leave former Juventus and Inter striker Toto Schillaci off the list here. Schillaci exploded under Zeman at Messina, before earning his move to the big time and winning both the World Cup Golden Ball and Golden Boot at Italia ‘90, as Italy’s unlikely leading striker. But as impressive as Schillaci’s accolades were, it would be disingenuous to act like Zeman’s coaching career isn’t inextricably linked to Giuseppe Signori’s prolific years on the pitch.

Signori was part Summer of ‘92 Foggia garage sale, packing his bags to go off and become Lazio’s star striker, where he would be later re-united with Zeman in the capital. Even once he moved away from Lazio to the lesser lights of Bologna, Signori still scored goals for fun and amassed a total 5 Capocannoniere awards over his entire Serie A career—while being a regular on Italian international duty. And it was all thanks to Zeman’s idea to convert Signori from a winger to an out-and-out number nine, all the way back at Foggia.

What He Said on Zeman: “Zeman was fundamental to my career. The first time he saw me, he greeted me with open arms, saying: ‘Ciao, Bomber.’ I thought he was confused. He’d just signed me for 1.5 billion lire and I’d only scored five goals in Serie B up to that point. I was anything but a bomber. Evidently, he had seen something else.”

Left-Wing: Francesco Totti (Twice)

Soccer/N’stle v Roma 3 Photo by Owen Humphreys - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Total Transfer Fees Since Zeman: None (no surprise there!)
Total Italy Caps Since Zeman: 59
Total Team Trophies Won Since Zeman: 6

Background: Of course Totti never collected any transfer fees in his one-club career, but was that really going to stop us from putting him in our first-choice eleven? He’s the most gifted player on this team by some margin (maybe only Nesta comes close in terms of prodigious talent), and the fact he managed to rack up six top-level trophies while playing for A.S. Roma is surreal to say.

Totti also would have collected many more Italy caps had he not decided to retire on the greatest of highs, in the summer of 2006, leaving as a World Cup champion and having created the most assists in the tournament itself. All while making a last-minute recovery from a broken leg. It’s ridiculous what Totti could do on his day.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-ROMA Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/GettyImages

Totti lived several different careers in one: The player who first made major headlines on the left wing under Zeman’s first spell was a different player to the rifinitore Totti who won a World Cup with Italy. And even more different still was him re-moulding himself into a False 9 and European Golden Boot winner with Spalletti, while then re-covering his career and fitness well into his thirties, thanks to a second spell training under Zeman in Rome.

Several Roma teammates have gone on record to say that Zeman’s training regime in Rome, in the early 2010s, was what extended Totti’s career into a player who retired at 39 years of age—one of the oldest players to start a Champions League game in UEFA’s history.

What He Said on Zeman: “Zeman, I’ll always hold you in the greatest esteem and recognition [for your influence on my career]. But what strange training sessions you used to put together!”

“Zeman seems like a shadowy figure, but as soon as you get to know him you will die from having fun. Though it definitely takes a while to understand him when he talks. Every now and then, when he makes a long speech you fall asleep. But his training sessions were different, and when you finished them you were destroyed.”


What about the players who didn’t make it? If we’d swapped out some of our Italian players for the names below, we could have included big transfer fees for guys like Romagnoli, Di Vaio, Immobile and Pelle. We also left out a Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner in Schillaci, while our foreign squad has the man voted “The Greatest Right Back of All Time” by France Football, Champions’ League winners Alenichev and Jankulovski, and a Ballon D’Or winner in Pavel Nedved among the ranks.

That’s all without mentioning big transfer fees for Osvaldo, Vucinic, Bojinov and the guy I saw play some of the best football of the 1990s at Nottingham Forest, Bryan Roy.

Not bad, Zeman. Not bad at all.

Best Italian Careers Who Didn’t Make the List (Total 289 Caps for Italy): Francesco Mancini (GK), Carlo Cudicini (GK), Pasquale Padalino (CB), Daniele Adani (CB), Lorenzo Minotti (CB), Roberto Bacci (CB/CM), Stefano Rossini (CB), Alessandro Grandoni (CB), Alessio Romagnoli (CB), Marco Capuano (CB), Gueglielmo Stendardo (CB), Paolo Negro (DF), Antonio Manicone (MF), Marco Osio (MF), Giuseppe Favalli (D/MC), Roberto Di Matteo (CM), Roberto Baronio (MF), Eusebio Di Francesco (MF), Alessandro Florenzi (D/MF), Cristian Molinaro (MF), Antonio Nocerino (MF), Lorenzo Insigne (FW), Roberto Rambaudi (AT), Francesco Baiano (FW), Salvatore Schillaci (CF), Marco Di Vaio (CF), Daniele Franceschini (AT), Gianluca Caprari (FW), Igor Protti (ST), Ciro Immobile (ST), Marco Sau (ST), Graziano Pelle (ST), Fabio Vignaroli (CF).

Best Foreign Careers Under Zeman: Cafu (WBR), Vincent Candela (WBL), Dan Petrescu (RB), Leandro Castan (CB), Marquinhos (CB), Jose Chamot (CB), Souleymane Diamoutene (CB), Zago (CB), Mark Fish (WBL), Marek Jankulovski (WBL), Cristian Ledesma (MF), Dmitri Alenichev (WF), Erik Lamela (WF), Aaron Winter (AT), Diego Farias (AT), Pavel Nedved (AML/C), Bryan Roy (AT), Igor Shalimov (AT), Paulo Sergio (AT), Pablo Osvaldo (ST), Vitali Kutuzov (CF), Valeri Bojinov (CF), Mirko Vucinic (CF).