Football in Italy
Football is the most popular sport in Italy. The Italian national football team is considered to be one of the best national teams in the world, they have won the FIFA World Cup four times, trailing only Brazil, runners-up in two finals and reaching a third place and a fourth place. They have won one European Championship appearing in two finals, finished third at the Confederations Cup, won one Olympic football tournament and two Central European International Cups. Italy's top domestic league, the Serie A, is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world and it is depicted as the most tactical national football league. Italy's club sides have won 48 major European trophies, making them the second most successful nation in European football. Serie A hosts three of the world's most famous clubs as Juventus and Inter, all founding members of the G-14, a group which represented the largest and most prestigious European football clubs. Juventus and Inter, along with Roma, Fiorentina and Parma but now Napoli are known as the Seven Sisters of Italian football.
Italian managers are the most successful in European Football in competitions such as the Champions League. More players have won the coveted Ballon d'Or award while playing at a Serie A club than any other league in the world. Other forms of football were played in Italy in ancient times, the earliest of, Harpastum, played during the times of the Roman Empire; this game may have been influential to other forms throughout Europe due to the expansion of the Empire, including Medieval football. From the 16th century onwards, Calcio Fiorentino, another code of football distinct from the modern game, was played in the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence; some famous Florentines were amongst players of the game the Medici family including Piero and Alessandro de' Medici. As well as Popes such as Clement VII, Leo XI and Urban VIII who played the game in the Vatican; the name calcio was adopted for football in Italy. The modern variation of the game was brought to Italy during the 1880s; the title of the first Italian football club is a controversial one, the most cited in popular history is Genoa Cricket and Football Club who were formed as a cricket club to represent England abroad, founded by Englishmen in 1893.
Three years in 1896 a man named James Richardson Spensley arrived in Genoa introducing the football section of the club and becoming its first manager. However, evidence exists to suggest. Edoardo Bosio, a merchant worker in the British textile industry had visited England and experienced the game, he was motivated to help spread football in his homeland. He founded Cricket Club that year while Nobili Torino soon followed; the second club bore the name of noble because it contained the Duke of the Abruzzi and Alfonso Ferrero di Ventimiglia. The two merged in 1891 to form Internazionale Football Club Torino, By 1898 the rival federation FIGC had been formed, with its center in Turin and the first two presidents as Mario Vicary and Luigi D'Ovidio. FIGC created the Italian Football Championship with the four founder clubs being; the first competition of, held at Velodromo Umberto I in Turin on 8 May 1898 and was won by Genoa. While it was common for clubs to compete in both FIGC and FNGI competitions early on, the titles won in the FIGC championship are the only ones recognised by the modern day league.
In the following years, the tournament was structured into regional groups with the winners of each group participating in a playoff with the eventual winners being declared champions. Until to 1904 the tournament was dominated by Genoa. Between 1905 and 1908 a Final Group among regional champions was contested to award the title and the Spensley Cup. Juventus won his first title and Spensley Cup in 1905, but the two following championships were won by Milan. In November 1907, the FIF organised two championships in the same season: Italian Championship, the main tournament where only Italian players were allowed to play; the majority of big clubs withdrew from both the championships in order to protest against the autarchical policy of the FIF. The Federal Championship was won by Juventus against Doria, while The Italian Championship 1908 and Coppa Buni were won by Pro Vercelli, beating Juventus, Doria and US Milanese. However, the Federal Championship won by Juventus was forgotten by FIGC, due to the boycott made by the dissident clubs.
In 1909 season, the two different championships were organised again, with Coppa Obe
Forward (association football)
Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, are therefore most responsible for scoring goals. Their advanced position and limited defensive responsibilities mean forwards score more goals on behalf of their team than other players. Modern team formations include one to three forwards. Unconventional formations may include none; the traditional role of a centre-forward is to score the majority of goals on behalf of the team. The player may be used to win long balls or receive passes and retain possession of the ball with their back to goal as teammates advance, in order to provide depth for their team or help teammates score by providing a pass. Most modern centre-forwards operate in front of the second strikers or central attacking midfielders, do the majority of the ball handling outside the box; the present role of centre-forward is sometimes interchangeable with that of an attacking midfielder in the 4–3–1–2 or 4–1–2–1–2 formations.
The term "target man" is used to describe a particular type of striker whose main role is to win high balls in the air and create chances for other members of the team. These players are tall and physically strong, being adept at heading the ball; the term centre-forward is taken from the early football playing formation in which there were five forward players: two outside forwards, two inside forwards, one centre-forward. When numbers were introduced in the 1933 English FA Cup final, one of the two centre-forwards that day wore the number nine – Everton's Dixie Dean a strong, powerful forward who had set the record for the most goals scored in a season in English football during the 1927–28 season; the number would become synonymous with the centre-forward position. The role of a striker is rather different from that of a traditional centre-forward, although the terms centre-forward and striker are used interchangeably at times, as both play further up the field than other players, while tall and technical players, like Zlatan Ibrahimović, have qualities which are suited to both positions.
Like the centre-forward, the traditional role of a striker is to score goals. They are fast players with good ball control and dribbling abilities. More agile strikers like Michael Owen have an advantage over taller defenders due to their short bursts of speed. A good striker should be able to shoot confidently with either foot, possess great power and accuracy, have the ability to link-up with teammates and pass the ball under pressure in breakaway situations. While many strikers wear the number 9 shirt, the position, to a lesser degree, is associated with the number 10, worn by more creative deep-lying forwards such as Pelé, with numbers 7 and 11, which are associated with wingers. Deep-lying forwards have a long history in the game, but the terminology to describe their playing activity has varied over the years; such players were termed inside forwards, creative or deep-lying centre-forwards. More two more variations of this old type of player have developed: the second, or shadow, or support, or auxiliary striker and, in what is in fact a distinct position unto its own, the number 10, exemplified by Dennis Bergkamp.
Other number 10s who play further back, such as Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane, are described as an attacking midfielder or the playmaker. The second striker position is a loosely defined and most misapplied description of a player positioned somewhere between the out-and-out striker, whether he is a "target-man" or more of a "poacher", the Number 10 or attacking midfielder, while showing some of the characteristics of both. In fact, a term coined by French advanced playmaker Michel Platini, the "nine-and-a-half", which he used to describe Roberto Baggio's playing role, has been an attempt to become a standard in defining the position. Conceivably, a Number 10 can alternate as a second-striker provided that he is a prolific goalscorer. Second or support strikers do not tend to get as involved in the orchestration of attacks as the Number 10, nor do they bring as many other players into play, since they do not share the burden of responsibility, functioning predominantly as assist providers.
In Italy, this role is known as a "rifinitore" or "seconda punta", whereas in Brazil, it is known as "segundo atacante" or "ponta-de-lança". The position of inside forward was popularly used in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries; the inside forwards would support the centre-forward and making space in the opposition defence, and, as the passing game developed, supporting him or her with passes. The role is broadly analogous to the "hole" or second striker position in the modern game, although here there were two such players, known as inside right and inside left. In early 2–3–5 formations the inside-forwards would flank the centre-forward on both sides. With the advent of
Ghana the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2, Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language; the first permanent state in the territory of present-day Ghana dates back to the 11th century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti. Beginning in the 15th century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British establishing control of the coast by the late 19th century. Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana's current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast, it became independent of the United Kingdom on 6 March 1957. Ghana's population of 30 million spans a variety of ethnic and religious groups.
According to the 2010 census, 71.2% of the population was Christian, 17.6% was Muslim, 5.2% practised traditional faiths. Its diverse geography and ecology ranges from coastal savannahs to tropical rain forests. Ghana is a unitary constitutional democracy led by a president, both head of state and head of the government. Ghana's growing economic prosperity and democratic political system have made it a regional power in West Africa, it is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, Group of 24 and the Commonwealth of Nations. The etymology of the word Ghana means "warrior king" and was the title accorded to the kings of the medieval Ghana Empire in West Africa, but the empire was further north than the modern country of Ghana, in the region of Guinea. Ghana was recognized as one of the great kingdoms in Bilad el-Sudan by the ninth century. Ghana was inhabited in the Middle Ages and the Age of Discovery by a number of ancient predominantly Akan kingdoms in the Southern and Central territories.
This included the Ashanti Empire, the Akwamu, the Bonoman, the Denkyira, the Mankessim Kingdom. Although the area of present-day Ghana in West Africa has experienced many population movements, the Akans were settled by the 5th century BC. By the early 11th century, the Akans were established in the Akan state called Bonoman, for which the Brong-Ahafo Region is named. From the 13th century, Akans emerged from what is believed to have been the Bonoman area, to create several Akan states of Ghana based on gold trading; these states included Bonoman, Denkyira, Mankessim Kingdom, Akwamu Eastern region. By the 19th century, the territory of the southern part of Ghana was included in the Kingdom of Ashanti, one of the most influential states in sub-saharan Africa prior to the onset of colonialism; the Kingdom of Ashanti government operated first as a loose network, as a centralised kingdom with an advanced specialised bureaucracy centred in the capital city of Kumasi. Prior to Akan contact with Europeans, the Akan people created an advanced economy based on principally gold and gold bar commodities traded with the states of Africa.
The earliest known kingdoms to emerge in modern Ghana were the Mole-Dagbani states. The Mole-Dagomba came on horseback from present-day Burkina Faso under Naa Gbewaa. With their advanced weapons and based on a central authority, they invaded and occupied the lands of the local people ruled by the Tendamba, established themselves as the rulers over the locals, made Gambaga their capital; the death of Naa Gbewaa caused civil war among his children, some of whom broke off and founded separate states including Dagbon, Mossi and Wala. Akan trade with European states began after contact with Portuguese in the 15th century. Early European contact by the Portuguese people, who came to the Gold Coast region in the 15th century to trade and established the Portuguese Gold Coast, focused on the extensive availability of gold; the Portuguese built a trading lodge at a coastal settlement called Anomansah which they renamed São Jorge da Mina. In 1481, King John II of Portugal commissioned Diogo d'Azambuja to build the Elmina Castle, completed in three years.
By 1598, the Dutch had joined the Portuguese in the gold trade, establishing the Dutch Gold Coast and building forts at Fort Komenda and Kormantsi. In 1617, the Dutch captured the Olnini Castle from the Portuguese, Axim in 1642. Other European traders had joined in gold trading by the mid-17th century, most notably the Swedes, establishing the Swedish Gold Coast, Denmark-Norway, establishing the Danish Gold Coast. Portuguese merchants, impressed with the gold resources in the area, named it Costa do Ouro or Gold Coast. Beginning in the 17th century — in addition to the gold trade — Portuguese, Dutch and French traders participated in the Atlantic slave trade in this area. More than thirty forts and castles were built by the Portuguese, Dano-Norwegians and German merchants. In 1874 Great Britain established control over some parts of the country, assigning these areas the status of British Gold Coast. Many military engagements occurred between the British colonial powers and the various Akan nation-states.
The Akan Kingdom of Ashanti defeated the British a few times i
A.C. Pisa 1909
Associazione Calcio Pisa 1909 referred to as Pisa, is an Italian football club based in Pisa, Tuscany. The club was founded in 1909 as Pisa Sporting Club and refounded in 1994 as Pisa Calcio, after the cancellation of the former because of economical troubles, it was excluded again from Italian football in 2009, after the property failed to collect enough money to pay off the club's debts. In summer 2009 it was refounded with the current denomination. Pisa won two Mitropa Cups, in 1986 and 1988, they play their home matches at Arena Garibaldi - Stadio Romeo Anconetani, named after Romeo Anconetani, the chairman who brought and led the club in Serie A during the 1980s. In 2016, Giuseppe Corrado planned the new Pisa stadium. At the end of the 2008 season, Pisa lost to U. S. Lecce in a two-legged promotion playoff final to Serie A. At the end of 2016 season, managed by Gennaro Gattuso, Pisa secured the promotion to Serie B by winning the final match against Foggia at Zaccheria Stadium; the team plays in Serie C.
After promotion to Serie B in 1965, Pisa took three years to reach Serie A for the first time. Despite a brave effort, Pisa was relegated on the final day of the 1968–69 season. Spending much of the 1970s in Serie C, Pisa returned to Serie B in 1979 and were promoted to Serie A in 1982, embarking on a period of six out of nine seasons in Serie A. With Danish international Klaus Berggreen among their stars, Pisa managed a credible 11th place in the 1982–83 Serie A with 27 points and 27 goals scored and conceded in 30 games; the following season brought relegation with 15,000 fans travelling to Milan for the fateful penultimate game. Promotion followed in 1985, the team seemed capable of staying up until losing their last three games; the cycle was repeated in 1987, only for a side containing players like Dunga and Paul Elliott to stay up. The last promotion to Serie A was achieved in 1990, with the talents of players like Maurizio Neri, Michele Padovano and Lamberto Piovanelli up front and Diego Simeone, Henrik Larsen and Aldo Dolcetti in midfield, the side started well and was atop the standings, only to suffer another relegation.
Relegation brought considerable financial strains to the club, by 1994 they had lost a relegation play-off and were condemned to Serie C1. Bankruptcy saw Pisa reformed in Eccellenza, only to return to Serie C2 in 1996 and C1 in 1999. Pisa have since worked towards attaining Serie B status, achieved in 2007, their crowds have been among the better in Italy's lower divisions owing to the dedication of their fans. In 2005–06, the team thought to be a protagonist for the promotion, were in continuous struggles, avoided relegation after playoffs in two dramatic regional derbies against Massese; the 2006–07 season, with new boss Piero Braglia, brought Pisa back to fight for a promotion spot: the nerazzurri ended the regular season in third place, won the promotion playoffs by defeating Venezia in the semi-finals and Monza in the finals. For the 2007–08 Serie B campaign, the first in 13 years, Giampiero Ventura was named to replace Braglia at the helm of the nerazzurri. Despite initial predictions of a mid-low table place, Pisa's impressive performances brought the team to fight for a direct promotion spot thanks to a forward line composed by Alessio Cerci, José Ignacio Castillo and Vitali Kutuzov which proved to be among the finest in the league.
The club ended the regular season in sixth place, therefore achieving a spot to the promotion playoffs, where Pisa was defeated by Lecce. In 2008–09, the club was acquired by Rome entrepreneur Luca Pomponi, who failed into appointing Alessandro Costacurta as new head coach, thus confirming Ventura as nerazzurri boss; the club, weakened by the departures of Cerci, Castillo and several other players, did not manage to repeat its performances, with Ventura being sacked in March 2009, with the club in mid-table place. The appointment of Bruno Giordano, made to improve the team results, however proved to be disappointing in terms of results, as Pisa lost positions in the table, shockingly got directly relegated in the final game of the season due to an injury-time home defeat to Brescia which left the Tuscans in 18th place; the unexpected relegation unveiled a number of massive financial issues which prevented the club from registering in the Lega Pro Prima Divisione, in July 2009 the club was excluded by the Italian Football Federation for the second time in its history.
Pisa has been refounded with the current denomination of A. C. Pisa 1909 S. S. D. to start again from Serie D under new ownership. At the end of the season Pisa won Group D of Serie D and was promoted to Lega Pro Seconda Divisione for the 2010–11 season; the team was admitted to Lega Pro Prima Divisione for the 2010–11 season to fill vacancies created by a row of club exclusions in second and third tier of Italian football league system. On 12 June 2016 Pisa gained promotion to Serie B after seven years by defeating Maceratese and Foggia in the two-legged play-off final, the club was relegated to Serie C the following season after finishing second-last; as of 31 January 2019Note: Flags indicate national team. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Official website
Kit (association football)
In association football, kit is the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The sport's Laws of the Game specify the minimum kit which a player must use, prohibit the use of anything, dangerous to either the player or another participant. Individual competitions may stipulate further restrictions, such as regulating the size of logos displayed on shirts and stating that, in the event of a match between teams with identical or similar colours, the away team must change to different coloured attire. Footballers wear identifying numbers on the backs of their shirts. A team of players wore numbers from 1 to 11, corresponding to their playing positions, but at the professional level this has been superseded by squad numbering, whereby each player in a squad is allocated a fixed number for the duration of a season. Professional clubs usually display players' surnames or nicknames on their shirts, above their squad numbers. Football kit has evolved since the early days of the sport when players wore thick cotton shirts and heavy rigid leather boots.
In the twentieth century, boots became lighter and softer, shorts were worn at a shorter length, advances in clothing manufacture and printing allowed shirts to be made in lighter synthetic fibres with colourful and complex designs. With the rise of advertising in the 20th century, sponsors' logos began to appear on shirts, replica strips were made available for fans to purchase, generating significant amounts of revenue for clubs; the Laws of the Game set out the basic equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4: The Players' Equipment. Five separate items are specified: shirt, socks and shin pads. Goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts. While most players wear studded football boots, the Laws do not specify. Shirts must have sleeves, goalkeepers must wear shirts which are distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts must be the same colour as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered by the stockings, be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, "provide a reasonable degree of protection".
The only other restriction on equipment defined in the Laws of the Game is the requirement that a player "must not use equipment or wear anything, dangerous to himself or another player". It is normal for individual competitions to specify that all outfield players on a team must wear the same colours, though the Law states only "The two teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other and the referee and the assistant referees". In the event of a match between teams who would wear identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different colour; because of this requirement a team's second-choice is referred to as its "away kit" or "away colours", although it is not unknown at international level, for teams to opt to wear their away colours when not required to by a clash of colours, or to wear them at home. The England national team sometimes plays in red shirts when it is not required, as this was the strip worn when the team won the 1966 FIFA World Cup. In some cases both teams have been forced to wear their second choice away kits.
Many professional clubs have a "third kit", ostensibly to be used if both their first-choice and away colours are deemed too similar to those of an opponent. Most professional clubs have retained the same basic colour scheme for several decades, the colours themselves form an integral part of a club's culture. Teams representing countries in international competition wear national colours in common with other sporting teams of the same nation; these are based on the colours of the country's national flag, although there are exceptions—the Italian national team, for example, wear blue as it was the colour of the House of Savoy, the Australian team like most Australian sporting teams wear the Australian National Colours of green and gold, neither of which appear on the flag, the Dutch national team wear orange, the colour of the Dutch Royal House. Shirts are made of a polyester mesh, which does not trap the sweat and body heat in the same way as a shirt made of a natural fibre. Most professional clubs have sponsors' logos on the front of their shirts, which can generate significant levels of income, some offer sponsors the chance to place their logos on the back of their shirts.
Depending on local rules, there may be restrictions on how large these logos may be or on what logos may be displayed. Competitions such as the Premier League may require players to wear patches on their sleeves depicting the logo of the competition. A player's number is printed on the back of the shirt, although international teams also place numbers on the front, professional teams print a player's surname above their number; the captain of each team is required to wear an elasticated armband around the left sleeve to identify them as the captain to the referee and supporters. Most current players wear specialist football boots, which can be made either of
Gianluigi Buffon shortened to Gigi Buffon, is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for French club Paris Saint-Germain. He is regarded by players and managers as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and, by some, as the greatest ever. At club level, Buffon's professional career began with Parma in 1995, where he made his Serie A debut, he soon earned a reputation as one of the most promising young goalkeepers in Italy, helped Parma win the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup and the Supercoppa Italiana, in 1999. After joining Juventus in 2001 for the world record fee for a goalkeeper of €52 million at the time, Buffon won Serie A titles in both of his first two seasons at the club, established himself as one of the best players in the world in his position. With Juventus, he won a record nine Serie A titles, as well as four Coppa Italia titles, five Supercoppa Italiana titles. After 17 years with Juventus, Buffon signed with French club Paris Saint-Germain at the age of 40 in 2018, where he won the Trophée des Champions in his first season with the team.
With 176 international caps, Buffon is the most capped player in the history of the Italy national team, the fourth-most capped footballer of all time, the most capped European international player ever. Buffon was called up for a record of five FIFA World Cup tournaments since making his debut in 1997, he was the starting goalkeeper of the squad. He represented Italy at four European Championships, at the 1996 Olympics, at two FIFA Confederations Cups, winning a bronze medal in the 2013 edition of the tournament, he retired from international football in 2017, after Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, although he came out of retirement for the team's friendlies the following year, before confirming his international retirement in May 2018. Buffon was the runner-up for the Ballon d'Or in 2006, was elected to be part of the FIFPro World XI, an honour which he achieved two more times, he is the first goalkeeper to win the Golden Foot Award, which pertains to both personality and playing ability.
He was the first goalkeeper to win the Serie A Footballer of the Year award, was named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record 12 times. He was named the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper a record five times, alongside Iker Casillas, was named the best goalkeeper of the 21st century, of the past 25 years, of the decade, by the same organisation, he holds the record for the most clean sheets in Serie A, with the Italy national team. He is one of only twenty-five players to have made at least 1,000 professional career appearances, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players in 2004. Following his 2006 World Cup victory with Italy, where he kept a record five clean sheets, he won the Yashin Award, in which he was elected to be part of the Team of the Tournament. Buffon is the only goalkeeper to have won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year Award, which he won after reaching the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final. After reaching the 2015 and 2017 Champions League finals, he was named to the Champions League Squad of the Season on both occasions, won the inaugural The Best FIFA Goalkeeper award in the latter year.
Despite offers from Bologna and Milan, Buffon began his career with the Parma youth system in 1991, at the age of 13. During his time in the youth academy, he played in several out-field positions, in particular as a midfielder, before switching to his current position of goalkeeper, his idol Thomas N'Kono inspired this change of position due to his notable goalkeeping performances for Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup in Italy. He adapted to this role, within two weeks he had been promoted to first keeper of the Parma youth team. Ermes Fulgoni, the academy's goalkeeping coach, would soon become a mentor to the young goalkeeper. After an initial call-up to train with the first team during the summer of 1994, Buffon was promoted to the senior squad in 1995, at the age of 17 years, 295 days, he made his Serie A debut for Parma under Nevio Scala, keeping a clean sheet in a 0–0 home draw against eventual Serie A Champions Milan, on 19 November 1995. Buffon made notable saves against Ballon d'Or winners Roberto Baggio and George Weah, as well as Marco Simone, throughout the match.
Buffon went on to make seven more first team appearances that season as well as one appearance in the Coppa Italia, making his debut in the competition, as Parma were eliminated in the second round. Parma finished in sixth place in Serie A that season. During his time at Parma, he trained under goalkeeping coach Villiam Vecchi, a person to whom Buffon attributes much
Defender (association football)
In the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals. There are four types of defenders: centre-back, full-back, wing-back; the centre-back and full-back positions are essential in most modern formations. The sweeper and wing-back roles are more specialised for certain formations. A centre-back defends in the area directly in front of the goal, tries to prevent opposing players centre-forwards, from scoring. Centre-backs accomplish this by blocking shots, intercepting passes, contesting headers and marking forwards to discourage the opposing team from passing to them. With the ball, centre-backs are expected to make long and pinpoint passes to their teammates, or to kick unaimed long balls down the field. For example, a clearance is a long unaimed kick intended to move the ball as far as possible from the defender's goal. Due to the many skills centre-backs are required to possess in the modern game, many successful contemporary central-defensive partnerships have involved pairing a more physical defender with a defender, quicker, more comfortable in possession and capable of playing the ball out from the back.
During normal play, centre-backs are unlikely to score goals. However, when their team takes a corner kick or other set pieces, centre-backs may move forward to the opponents' penalty area. In this case, other defenders or midfielders will temporarily move into the centre-back positions; some centre-backs have been known for their direct free kicks and powerful shots from distance. Brazilian defenders David Luiz and Naldo have been known for using the cannonball free kick method, which relies more on power than placement. In the modern game, most teams employ three centre-backs in front of the goalkeeper; the 4–2–3–1, 4–3–3, 4–4–2 formations all use two centre-backs. There are two main defensive strategies used by centre-backs: the zonal defence, where each centre-back covers a specific area of the pitch; the sweeper is a more versatile centre-back who "sweeps up" the ball if an opponent manages to breach the defensive line. This position is rather more fluid than that of other defenders who man-mark their designated opponents.
Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as libero. Though sweepers may be expected to build counter-attacking moves, as such require better ball control and passing ability than typical centre-backs, their talents are confined to the defensive realm. For example, the catenaccio system of play, used in Italian football in the 1960s, employed a purely defensive sweeper who only "roamed" around the back line; the more modern libero possesses the defensive qualities of the typical libero while being able to expose the opposition during counterattacks. The Fundell-libero has become more popular in recent time with the sweeper transitioning to the most advanced forward in an attack; this variation on the position requires great fitness. While seen in professional football, the position has been extensively used in lower leagues. Modern libero sit behind centre-backs as a sweeper before charging through the team to join in the attack; some sweepers move forward and distribute the ball up-field, while others intercept passes and get the ball off the opposition without needing to hurl themselves into tackles.
If the sweeper does move up the field to distribute the ball, they will need to make a speedy recovery and run back into their position. In modern football, its usage has been restricted, with few clubs in the biggest leagues using the position; the position is most believed to have been pioneered by Franz Beckenbauer, Gaetano Scirea, Elías Figueroa, although they were not the first players to play this position. Earlier proponents included Alexandru Apolzan, Ivano Blason, Velibor Vasović, Ján Popluhár. Other defenders who have been described as sweepers include Bobby Moore, Franco Baresi, Ronald Koeman, Fernando Hierro, Matthias Sammer, Aldair, due to their ball skills and long passing ability. Though it is used in modern football, it remains a respected and demanding position. A recent and successful use of the sweeper was made by Otto Rehhagel, Greece's manager, during UEFA Euro 2004. Rehhagel utilized Traianos Dellas as Greece's sweeper to great success, as Greece became European champions.
Although this position has become obsolete in modern football formations, due to the use of zonal marking and the offside trap, certain players such as Daniele De Rossi:, Leonardo Bonucci, Javi Martínez and David Luiz have played a similar role as a ball-playing central defender in a 3–5–2 or 3–4–3 formation. Some goalkeepers, who are comfortable leaving their goalmouth to intercept and clear through balls, who participate more in play, such as René Higuita, Manuel Neuer, Edwin van der Sar, Fabien Barthez, Hugo Lloris, among others, have been referred to as sweep