Silvio Piola was an Italian footballer from Robbio Lomellina, province of Pavia who played as a striker. He is known as a prominent figure in the history of Italian football due to several records he set, he is regarded as one of the greatest strikers of his generation, as well as one of the best Italian players of all time. Piola won the 1938 FIFA World Cup with Italy, scoring two goals in the final, ending the tournament as the second best player and the second highest scorer. Piola is third in the all-time goalscoring records of the Italian national team, he is the highest goalscorer in Italian first league history, with 290 goals, in Serie A history. He played 566 Serie A games, putting him fourth on the all-time list for appearances in Italy's top flight. Piola is the only player to have the honour of being the all-time Serie A top scorer of three different teams Piola is the highest scoring Italian player in all competitions, with 364 goals. After his death a pair of Italian stadiums were renamed after him: one in Novara in 1997 and another in Vercelli in 1998.
In 2011, he was posthumously inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame. Piola began his career with Italian club side Pro Vercelli, making his Serie A debut against Bologna on 16 February 1930, scoring 13 goals in his first year, at the age of 17. On 29 October 1933, Piola scored 6 goals, the joint-most goals scored in a single match in Serie A, in a 7–2 win over Fiorentina, he went on to score 51 goals in 127 appearances in Serie A for Pro Vercelli. In 1934, he moved to Lazio, on the receiving end of his first Serie A goal on 11 November 1930, he was to spend the next nine seasons there. Piola was the Serie A top scorer twice while at Lazio, in 1937 and 1943. After leaving Lazio, he spent war-torn 1944 at Torino, where he scored an amazing 27 goals in just 23 games. Toward the end of the war, he joined Novara. From 1945 to 1947, Piola played for Juventus, before moving back to Novara, where he stayed for seven more seasons. During his final years with Novara, Piola became the oldest player in Serie A history to score two goals in a single league match, a feat which he managed on 1 February 1953, at the age of 39 years, 4 months and 2 days, against his former team Lazio.
To this day, Piola is still the highest all-time goalscorer in Serie A. His first game for Italy came against Austria on 24 March 1935, when he scored his first goal for the team, he was a World Cup winner in 1938, when he scored two of Italy's goals in the 4–2 victory over Hungary. Piola went on to play 34 games for Italy and score 30 goals between 1935–1952, a tally that would have been greater if not for the interruption caused by World War II, he served as the national side's captain from 1940 until 1947. In 1939 he scored a goal with his hand to England 47 years before Diego Armando Maradona, his last international appearance was in 1952. Piola is Italy's third highest goalscorer of all-time, behind only Giuseppe Meazza, Luigi Riva. Piola died in Gattinara in 1996, aged 83. Regarded as one of the greatest strikers of all time, Piola was renowned for his goalscoring ability throughout his career, his eye for goal, he was considered to be a modern and well-rounded player during his time, as he used his physical attributes and control to play with his back to goal, lay off the ball for team mates in order to provide them with assists.
Piola's vision, work-rate, technical ability, as well as his passing ability, made him a tactically versatile player, capable of playing in several positions, he was deployed on the wing, in midfield, or as a creative advanced playmaker or second striker on occasion. Piola excelled as a centre-forward, however. Piola was known for his powerful and accurate finishing ability with his head and both feet, from any position on the pitch, which made him a prolific goalscorer throughout his career. Due to his agility and athletic ability, Piola excelled in the air, he was capable of scoring spectacular acrobatic goals from volleys and bicycle kicks. Despite his talent and his reputation, he was accused of diving throughout his career. Unlike his legendary international team-mate, club rival, friend Giuseppe Meazza, with whom he was compared, Piola was much more reserved both on and off the pitch, he preferred to score through efficiency and pragmatism rather than flamboyance. S. S. LazioSerie A: runner-up 1936–37 Mitropa Cup: runner-up 1937Juventus F.
C. Serie A: runner-up 1945–46, 1946–47NovaraSerie B: 1947–48 ItalyFIFA World Cup: 1938 Central European International Cup: 1933–35 FIFA World Cup Silver Ball: 1938 FIFA World Cup Silver Boot: 1938 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1938 Serie A Top Goal-scorer: 1936–37, 1942–43 Inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame: 2011 Inducted into the Walk of Fame of Italian sport: 2015 Silvio Piola at National-Football-Teams.com
U.S. Alessandria Calcio 1912
Unione Sportiva Alessandria Calcio 1912 referred to as Alessandria, is an Italian football club based in Alessandria, Piedmont. It plays in Serie C, the third tier of Italian football. Founded in 1912, Alessandria spent 13 seasons in Serie A between 1929 and 1960 and 21 in Serie B; the most successful period in the history of the team was between World War I and World War II, when it was, with Novara, Pro Vercelli and Casale, part of the so-called Quadrilatero Piemontese, which forged great players and gained important trophies. One of the most famous players who has worn the characteristic gray shirt of the team is 1969 European Footballer of the Year award-winner Gianni Rivera. With the promotion in 2009 in Lega Pro Prima Divisione, the team left a period of financial troubles, with internal problems that led the club to bankruptcy in 2003. Football arrived in Alessandria in the end of 19th century. In 1896, the Unione Pro Sport Alessandria was created, followed by the football teams of the athletic club Forza e Concordia, which wore dark-grey shirts, Forza e Coraggio, with pearl-grey shirts.
Unione Pro Sport took part in some exhibition tournaments with teams based in Turin and Genoa between 1897 and 1898. On 15 March 1898, it was invited to join the constituents of FIF took part in the first official championship qualification round and, feeling itself penalized in favor of F. B. C. Torinese and Genoa CFC, it preferred to leave and keep on participating in tournaments organized by FGNI. In 1908 Forza and Coraggio members decided to set up a team which could dispute the Italian Championship, it happened on 18 February 1912 with the foundation of Alessandria Foot Ball Club by Enrico Badò, Amilcare Savojardo and Alfredo Ratti, elected first director. The first shirts, bought from Vigor Torino, were azure, with a large vertical white stripe in the center; the team was admitted to the Promozione for the 1912–13 season gaining a promotion after a decisive match played against Vigor Torino in Novara, of which the score was 3–0. In the same year, businessman Giovanni Maino offered eleven grey shirts, similar to those worn by his famous cycling team, to Alessandria FBC.
In 1913 the team recruited the English player-coach George Arthur Smith, coming from the ranks of Genoa. C. in the "Quinquennio d'Oro" period and who became on 31 January 1915 the first Alessandria footballer wearing the national football team's jersey—soon exploded in the 1920s. In the 1914–15 season, the grey team in Piedmont was good, missing for only two points the admission to the final round. After World War I, Alessandria F. B. C. continued to improve its performances: in the 1919–20 season, it prevailed in the elimination round and lost to Genoa in the semifinals. In November 1920, FBC merged with another Alessandria team, US Alessandria, established in 1915, keeping the grey shirt and changing its name to Alessandria US. At the end of the 1920–21 season, the club gained admission to the North Italy championship semifinals after a playoff in Milan against Modena F. C.. On 10 July 1921, Alessandria US lost the chance to qualify for the Northern Italy final, losing to U. S. Pro Vercelli in a violent match bitterly contested by Alessandria: they chose to withdraw in protest after just an hour of play, after a serious head injury occurred in Carcano.
In subsequent years Alessandria U. S. continued to show excellent performances, but never succeeded in winning a championship, as the tournament was dominated by Pro Vercelli and Genoa, from Bologna CFC and Turinese teams. In 1927, after a disappointing season after which the salvation from relegation in Division I came only after a series of playouts against Pisa and Novara, came the first trophy: the Coppa CONI, won after a double final played against Casale. In the first round, trained by Carlo Carcano, defeated Livorno, Andrea Doria, Alba Rome and Napoli; that year the works for the new stadium started. Alessandria players at the time were Giovanni Ferrari, Luigi Bertolini and Adolfo Baloncieri, which in the summer of 1927 signed for Torino F. C.. In 1928 Alessandria came close to winning the championship, it was a heavy, unexpected defeat at Casale that erased the dreams of Carcano's team, for it wasn't enough to defeat Torino in the direct match to win the championship. Alessandria's Goalkeeper Curti, suspected by most of illicit activities, was soon expelled.
Furthermore, authorities heavily discredited after the "Allemandi Case", deemed it unnecessary to investigate further into the match. At the end of the 1928–29 season Alessandria was admitted to the first edition of Serie A tournament and inaugurated the new stadium. In the early 1930s, several players left the club, still tied to amateurism, to migrate to large centers. In 1936, the team, after beating Cremonese, Laz
Emiliano Mondonico was an Italian professional footballer and coach. He played as a winger, his playing career was spent with Cremonese, where it began and ended. Mondonico's 31-year-long managerial career included two spells each at Cremonese and AlbinoLeffe. With Torino, he won the 1992 -- 93 Coppa Italia. Mondonico grew up playing in the youth team of Rivoltana, an amateur team in his hometown of Rivolta d'Adda in the Province of Cremona. In 1966 he was signed by Cremonese, with whom he played one season in Serie D and one season in Serie C. In the 1968–69 season, he made his Serie A debut with Torino. After two seasons with the Granata, he moved to Monza in Serie B, before returning to Serie A with Atalanta in the 1971–72 season, he returned to Cremonese where he ended his playing career after seven seasons disputed between Serie B and Serie C in 1979. Mondonico began his managerial career with the Cremonese youth team in 1979. In 1981, he became manager of the senior team, in 1984, achieved a historic promotion to Serie A with Cremonese who had not played in the Italian top flight in 54 years.
In 1987, he moved to Atalanta, guided them to the semi-finals of the 1987–88 European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final. In 1990, he joined Torino, where he won the Mitropa Cup over Pisa and finished in fifth-place in the league during the 1990–91 season; the following year, he led Torino to a historic UEFA Cup final during the 1991–92 season, lost on aggregate to AFC Ajax. After Torino were disallowed a penalty, Mondonico famously lifted up a chair into the air in a sign of protest against the referee. In the 1992–93 season, he won the 1993 Coppa Italia Final against Roma. In 1994, he returned to Atalanta for a second time, had a second spell with Torino as well between 1998 and 2000, before coaching Napoli during the 2000–01 season, although he was unable to help the club avoid relegation to Serie B. After a two-year spell with Cosenza, he joined Fiorentina in 2003, the following year, he led the club back into Serie A for the first time since their demotion to Serie C2, following their bankruptcy in 2002.
In September 2009, Mondonico was appointed as head coach of AlbinoLeffe once again to replace Armando Madonna. He stepped down as head coach of AlbinoLeffe on 29 January 2011 due to "serious health issues", with his assistant Daniele Fortunato taking over on an interim basis. Two days his club confirmed he had undergone abdominal surgery, expecting him to recover in a few weeks time. On 15 February, after a full recovery, Mondonico returned to his coaching duties at AlbinoLeffe, he guided AlbinoLeffe to narrowly escape relegation after defeating Piacenza in the playoffs, but on 13 June he held an emotional press conference to announce that the illness had returned during the final period of the season and that he was considering stepping down as a consequence. On 17 June 2011 Mondonico was confirmed to have resigned from AlbinoLeffe in order to focus on cancer treatment. On 30 January 2012, Mondonico marked his Serie A comeback, replacing Attilio Tesser as head coach of Novara, who were last-placed in the Italian top flight and seven points shy of relegation safety after the first half of the season.
On 6 March 2012 he was sacked. Mondonico died at the age of 71 on 29 March 2018, from stomach cancer. TorinoMitropa Cup: 1991 Coppa Italia: 1992–93 Elio Corban. Sesaab, ed. Cent'anni di Atalanta. Bergamo. ISBN 978-88-903088-0-2
Serie A called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by TIM, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and the winner is awarded the Coppa Campioni d'Italia. It has been operating for over eighty years since the 1929–30 season, it had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, when the Lega Serie A was created for the 2010–11 season. Serie A is regarded as one of the best football leagues in the world and it is depicted as the most tactical national league. Serie A was the world's second-strongest national league in 2014 according to IFFHSand has produced the highest number of European Cup finalists: Italian clubs have reached the final of the competition on 27 occasions, winning the title 12 times. Serie A is ranked third among European leagues according to UEFA's league coefficient, behind La Liga, Premier League, ahead of Bundesliga and Ligue 1, based on the performance of Italian clubs in the Champions League and the Europa League during the last five years.
Serie A led the UEFA ranking from 1986 to 1988 and from 1990 to 1999. In its current format, the Italian Football Championship was revised from having regional and interregional rounds, to a single-tier league from the 1929–30 season onwards; the championship titles won prior to 1929 are recognised by FIGC with the same weighting as titles that were subsequently awarded. However, the 1945–46 season, when the league was played over two geographical groups due to the ravages of WWII, is not statistically considered if its title is official. All the winning teams are recognised with the title of Campione d'Italia, ratified by the Lega Serie A before the start of the next edition of the championship; the league hosts three of the world's most famous clubs as Juventus and Internazionale, all founding members of the G-14, a group which represented the largest and most prestigious European football clubs from 2000 to 2008, being the first two cited founding members of its successive organisation, European Club Association.
More players have won the coveted Ballon d'Or award while playing at a Serie A club than any league in the world other than Spain's La Liga. – although Spain's La Liga has the highest total number of Ballon d'Or winners. Juventus, Italy's most successful club of the 20th century and the most successful Italian team, is tied for fourth in Europe and eighth in the world with the most official international titles; the club is the only one in the world to have won all possible official confederation competitions. Milan is joint third club for official international titles won in the world, with 18. Internazionale, following their achievements in the 2009–10 season, became the first Italian team to have achieved a treble. Inter are the only team in Italian football history to have never been relegated. Juventus and Inter, along with Roma, Fiorentina and Napoli, are known as the Seven Sisters of Italian football. Serie A is one of the most storied football leagues in the world. Of the 100 greatest footballers in history chosen by FourFourTwo magazine in 2017, 42 players have played in Serie A, more than any other league in the world.
Juventus is the team that has produced the most World Cup champions, with Inter and Milan, being third and ninth in that ranking. Serie A, as it is structured today, began during the 1929–30 season. From 1898 to 1922, the competition was organised into regional groups; because of growing teams attending regional championships, the Italian Football Federation split the CCI in 1921. When CCI teams rejoined the FIGC created two interregional divisions renaming Categories into Divisions and splitting FIGC sections into two North-South leagues. In 1926, due to internal crises, the FIGC changed internal settings, adding southern teams to the national division leading to the 1929–30 final settlement. No title was awarded in 1927 after Torino were stripped of the championship by the FIGC. Torino were declared champions in the 1948–49 season following a plane crash near the end of the season in which the entire team was killed; the Serie A Championship title is referred to as the scudetto because since the 1924–25 season, the winning team will bear a small coat of arms with the Italian tricolour on their strip in the following season.
The most successful club is Juventus with 34 championships, followed by both Milan and Internazionale, with 18 championships apiece. From the 2004–05 season onwards, an actual trophy was awarded to club on the pitch after the last turn of the championship; the trophy, called the Coppa Campioni d'Italia, has been used since the 1960–61 season, but between 1961 and 2004 was consigned to the winning clubs at the head office of the Lega Nazionale Professionisti. In April 2009, Serie A announced a split from Serie B. Nineteen of the twenty clubs voted in favour of the move in an argument over television rights. Maurizio Beretta, the former head of Italy's employers' association, became president of the new league. In April 2016, it was announced that Serie A was selected by the International Football Association Board to test video replays, which were private for the 2016–17 season, allowing them to become a live pilot phase, with replay assistance implemented in the 2017–18 season. On the decision, FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio said, "We were among the first supporters of using technology on the pitch and we believe we have everything required to offer our contribution to this important experiment."
For most of Serie A's history, there were 16 or 18
Away colours are a choice of coloured clothing used in team sports. They are required to be worn by one team during a game between teams that would otherwise wear the same colours as each other, or similar colours; this change prevents confusion for officials and spectators. In most sports, it is the visiting or road team that must change – second-choice kits are known as away kits or change kits in British English, road uniforms in American English; some sports leagues mandate that away teams must always wear an alternative kit, while others state that the two teams' colours should not match. In some sports, conventionally the home team has changed its kit. In most cases, a team wears its away kit only when its primary kit would clash with the colours of the home team. However, sometimes teams wear away colours by choice even in a home game. At some clubs, the away kit has become more popular than the home version. Replica home and away kits are available for fans to buy; some teams have produced third-choice kits, or old-fashioned throwback uniforms.
In North American sports, road teams wear a change uniform regardless of a potential colour clash. "Color vs. color" games are a rarity, having been discouraged in the era of black-and-white television. All road uniforms are white in gridiron football and the National Hockey League, while in baseball, visitors wear grey. In the National Basketball Association and NCAA basketball, home uniforms are white or yellow, visiting teams wear the darker colour. Most teams choose to wear their colour jerseys at home, with the road team changing to white in most cases. White road uniforms gained prominence with the rise of television in the 1950s. A "white vs. color" game was easier to follow in black-and-white. According to Phil Hecken, "until the mid 1950′s, not only was color versus color common in the NFL, it was the norm." Long after the advent of colour television, the use of white jerseys has remained in every game. The NFL's current rules require that a team's home jerseys must be "either white or official team color" throughout the season, "and visiting clubs must wear the opposite".
If a team insists on wearing its home uniforms on the road, the NFL Commissioner must judge on whether their uniforms are "of sufficient contrast" with those of their opponents. The road team might instead wear a third jersey, such as the Seattle Seahawks' "Wolf Grey" alternate. According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, the Cleveland Browns wore white for every home game of the 1955 season; the only times they wore brown was for games at Philadelphia and the New York Giants, when the Eagles and Giants chose to wear white. In 1964 the Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams wore white for their home games according to Tim Brulia's research; the St. Louis Cardinals wore white for several of their home games, as well as the Dallas Cowboys; until 1964 Dallas had worn blue at home, but it was not an official rule that teams should wear their coloured jerseys at home. The use of white jerseys was introduced by general manager Tex Schramm, who wanted fans to see a variety of opponents' jersey colours at home games.
The Cowboys still wear white at home today. White has been worn at home by the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, several other NFL teams. Teams in cities with hot climates choose white jerseys at home during the first half of the season, because light colours absorb and retain less heat in sunlight – as such, the Dolphins, who stay white year-round, will use their coloured jerseys for home night games; every current NFL team except the Seattle Seahawks has worn white at home at some time in its history. During the successful Joe Gibbs era, the Washington Redskins chose to wear white at home in the 1980s and 1990s, including the 1982 NFC Championship Game against Dallas. Since 2001 the Redskins have chosen to wear white jerseys and burgundy jerseys equally in their home games, but they still wear white against the Cowboys; when Gibbs returned from 2004 to 2007, they wore white at home exclusively. In 2007, they wore a white throwback jersey; the Dallas Cowboys' blue jersey has been popularly viewed to be "jinxed" because of defeats at Super Bowl V in 1971, in the 1968 divisional playoffs at Cleveland, Don Meredith's final game as a Cowboys player.
Dallas's only victory in a conference championship or Super Bowl wearing the blue jerseys was in the 1978 NFC Championship game at the Los Angeles Rams. Super Bowl rules changed to allow the designated home team to pick their choice of jersey. White was chosen by the Cowboys, the Redskins, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots; the latter three teams wear colours at home, but Pittsburgh had worn white in three road playoff wins, while Denver cited its previous Super Bowl success in white jerseys, while being 0–4 when wearing orange in Super Bowls. Teams playing against Dallas at home wear their white jerseys to try to invoke the "curse", as when the Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Cowboys in the 1980 NFC Championship Game. Teams including the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants followed suit in the 1980s, the Carolina Panthers did so from 1995 until 2006, including two playoff games; the Hous
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
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