Serie A's marks

Gianluca Pagliuca (Inter) - 6,44
Bologna, 18-12-66
Goalkeeper
In 1996-97 he was rated as the best goalkeeper of the Italian Championship.
His performances didnít fade this season but his supremacy was suddenly challenged by another young goalkeeper, ìsupermanî Buffon, who brilliantly exploded with his cheerful face and his athletic physique.
Pagliuca still remains one of the best goalkeepers of this decade, a pivotal piece for a Club that wants to win the Championship.
Season after season he softened his hot and extroverted character, maturing and winning his teammatesí respect.
Now he still says his say but without losing his head.
He has a great talent, the right basics, and the more he gets old the better his performances grow.
Like the good wine.
After staying on the bench during the Italian World Cup in 1990, and experiencing the unlucky World Cup in the U.S. in 1994, he was suddenly given the great opportunity to start for Italy during the next World Cup in France, because of Peruzziís injury.
Pagliuca is the only goalkeeper ever to be called by three different Coaches in the history of the Italian national team.


Michael Konsel (Roma) - 6,42
Vienna (Aut), 6-3-62
Goalkeeper
Last summer he was said to be just a good backup for the emerging Chimenti.
Konsel could show a very bright career spent in Austria, also with his national team, but the new challenge of the Italian Championship, at the venerable age of 36, caused some perplexity.
However, the Austrian who looks like an actor won his battle and became the starter proving to be the perfect answer for Zemanís strategies.
Taking advantage of his past as a defender, ìthe pantherî (as he was nicknamed by Romaís fans) showed to be very talented also through his feet and revealed a great timing who allows him to quickly anticipate the opposing forwards.
His great skills promptly won Zemanís respect and his fansí love.
As the Austriaís starting goalkeeper he will face Italy during the next World Cup in France.


Manuel Rui Costa (Fiorentina) - 6,41
Lisbona (Por), 29-3-72
CENTROCAMPISTA
Midfielder
Malesaniís challenge: to turn this great, refined talent into the real, effective leader of the new Fiorentina.
Malesani insisted on this project, already outlined by Ranieri, and Rui Costa repaid him through a very brilliant season.
He was always there, behind Batistuta, Edmundo and Oliveira, to create opportunities and make plays.
He finally emerged as a playmaker, taking advantage of his best qualities and revealing his true characteristics.
Rui Costa is one of the most tangible signs of Malesaniís work.
One of the pivotal members of a team that finished 5th at the end of last season (quilifying for the UEFA Cup) and that now aspires to achieve even higher results both in Italy and in Europe.

Gabriel Batistuta (Fiorentina) - 6,39
Reconquista (Arg), 1-2-69
Forward
Itís a pity that Batistuta's great image could be ruined by the endless ìsoap operaî about his desire to leave the team and the city that gave him such an international notoriety and richness.
After 7 years Gabriel is getting tired.
He would like to move on, to gain even more money but especially to win something.
However his commitment has never been missing and the last one was another season to frame for this Argentine talent who falls within the classical number 9ís tradition.
He is talented, powerful, quick and has a good elevation.
He is smart and brave inside the goal-mouth, and his right foot is just fulminant.
This season he scored 21 goals and altogether he scored 123 times for Fiorentina.
Only Kurt Hamrin precedes him in the Clubís history.
Both Cecchi Gori and his new coach Trapattoni hope Batistuta to surpass him.

Angelo Peruzzi (Juventus) - 6,36
Viterbo, 16-2-70
After an unlucky experience with Roma, Peruzzi finally found with Juventus the right place to emerge, becoming the pre-eminently number 1 both with his Club and with the national team.
He has really impressive physical qualities (even if he always needs to fight against the balance), great instinct and quick reflexes.
Brave but essential, Peruzzi uses to show spectacular saves only when itís necessary.
He knows how to transmit confidence and tranquillity to his teammates.
Peruzzi won his 3rd Championship with Juventus and the World Cup was waiting for him.
However he got injured and he wonít be able to challenge the Paraguayan Chilavert, the only goalkeeper whoís still internationally rated better than him.

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