Zidane, Pirlo, Nedved, no Ronaldo: Who are Juventus' greatest ever players?

Zidane, Pirlo, Nedved, no Ronaldo: Who are Juventus' greatest ever players?

During his three full seasons at Juventus between 2018 and 2021, Cristiano Ronaldo scored goals at a frightening rate.

Notching 101 goals in 134 appearances, the Portuguese icon helped Juve to a pair of Serie A titles as well as a Coppa Italia triumph.

Those incredible numbers would be enough to see Ronaldo recognised as an all-time great at most clubs.

Juventus, of course, isn’t your run-of-the-mill club by any means.

A titan of European football, Juventus have lifted the Scudetto on no less than 36 occasions – and have also been crowned European champions twice.

With the best part of 125 years of rich history behind them, selecting an ultimate XI of the club’s most iconic players was never going to be an easy task.

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The team over at Goal recently had a stab at it, though, and they couldn’t find room for five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo in their line-up.

However, the 37-year-old was far from the only significant name from the Old Lady’s illustrious history not to make the cut.

We’ve taken a look at the elite XI below.

The Ultimate Juventus dream XI (as selected by Goal)

GK: Gianlugi Buffon

With due respect to the legendary Dino Zoff, Goal admitted there was “no looking past Buffon” – and rightfully so.

Racking up 685 appearances for Juve, the iconic shot-stopper tasted Serie A glory on a record 10 occasions, winning a total of 21 trophies at the club.

Buffon at Juventus
CARDIFF, WALES – JUNE 03: Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus celebrates his sides first goal during the UEFA Champions League Final between Juventus and Real Madrid at National Stadium of Wales on June 3, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

RB: Lillian Thuram

Thuram rampaged down the right flank with menace for Juventus between 2001 and 2006.

Converted from a centre-back by Marcelo Lippi after arriving in Turin, Thuram became one of the top right-backs in the world while representing the Bionconeri.

The Frenchman won two Scudetti and a pair of Italian Super Cups before leaving for Barcelona.

CB: Gaetano Scirea

Scirea’s free transfer from Atalanta in 1974 is considered one of the greatest bargains in Italian football history to this day.

The captain of some of the greatest sides the club has ever seen, Scirea won all there is to win with Juventus, namely seven Scudetti, two Coppa Italia, one UEFA Cup, one Cup Winners’ Cup, a European Cup, a European Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup.

Tragically, the Juve legend would pass away at just 36 years old in a car accident.

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CB: Giorgio Chiellini

With 561 appearances to his name across 17 seasons, Chiellini rightly enjoys hero status in Turin – even after his summer departure to the MLS.

Inspiring Juve to a massive nine Scudetti in a row between 2012 and 2020, the no-nonsense centre-back is one of the most respected figures in the game in Italy.

Chiellini at Juventus
TURIN, ENGLAND – MAY 05: Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus celebrates victory after the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Juventus and Real Madrid CF at Juventus Arena on May 5, 2015 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

LB: Antonio Cabrini

Starring for Juve between 1976 and 1989, Cabrini had everything a coach could ask for in a left-back. Comfortable with the ball at his feet, he could deliver a cross like few others of his time.

Cabrini also chipped in with goals throughout his time in Turin, helping the club to win a staggering 13 trophies.

CM: Andrea Pirlo

When it comes to the ability to pick a pass, Pirlo was an absolute magician throughout his career. His set pieces weren’t bad, either!

Running the show with a ridiculous sense of ease during each of his four years in Turin, Pirlo won the Scudetto in every season he played for the club.

Pirlo at Juventus
TURIN, ITALY – APRIL 10: Andrea Pirlo of Juventus celebrates scoring the first goal during the UEFA Europa League quarter final match between Juventus and Olympique Lyonnais at Juventus Arena on April 10, 2014 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

CM: Zinedine Zidane

So outstanding was Zidane during his five seasons with Juve that he ultimately enticed Real Madrid to break the world transfer record for his services in 2001.

His mastery on the pitch saw him claim two Scudetti, an Italian Super Cup, a European Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup with the club.

No greatest Juventus XI would be complete without ‘Zizou’.

AM: Pavel Nedved

When Zidane left Turin for the Spanish capital, Nedved was quickly recruited as his replacement.

After a rocky start, the ‘Czech Fury’ eventually won over the fanbase with his combination of technical brilliance and wholehearted commitment to the Juve cause.

Supporters’ love for Nedved grew even further when the 2003 Ballon d’Or winner insisted on remaining at the club after they were relegated in 2006 as a result of the Calciopoli scandal.

The two-time Scudetti winner still plays a key role for the Old Lady today, serving as their vice president.

Nedved at Juventus
ROME, ITALY – MARCH 21: Pavel Nedved of Juventus celebrates during the Serie A match between Roma and Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico on March 21, 2009 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by New Press/Getty Images)

AM: Michel Platini

Platini thrilled Juve fans for five seasons between 1982 and 1987 – and for much of that period was considered the best player on the planet.

Winning the Ballon d’Or in three consecutive years (1983-1985), the legendary Frenchman seemingly scored goals at will from the No. 10 position.

A huge trophy haul inevitably followed, including two Scudetti, an Italian Cup, a Cup Winners’ Cup, a Champions Cup, a European Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup.

FW: Alessandro Del Piero

During a storied spell of almost two decades with the Bionconeri, Del Piero cemented his legacy as Juventus’ greatest ever player.

Nobody has made more appearances (705) or scored more goals (250) than Del Piero, who stuck with the club after their 2006 relegation to see them back to Serie A glory.

Naturally, the Juve icon has quite the medal collection as a result – namely six Scudetti, a Champions League, a European Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup, an Italian Cup and four Italian Super Cups.

Del Piero at Juventus
TURIN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 14: Alessandro Del Piero of Juventus FC celebrates his second goal during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and Genoa CFC at Stadio Olimpico on February 14, 2010 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

FW: Giampiero Boniperti

A five-time Scudetti winner, Boniperti was Juve’s biggest name from the late 1940s to the early 1960s.

He once famously insisted: “Juve is not only the team of my heart. It is my heart.”

Later, as a club executive, he was the man responsible for bringing Del Piero to the club, further securing his legendary status in Turin.

You can check out the epic line-up in full below.

Ultimate Juventus XI

An XI full of Juve royalty, which perhaps explains why Ronaldo’s three-season blitz was not sufficient to get him a spot.

The likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Edgar Davids, Paul Pogba, Roberto Baggio and David Trezeguet also miss out due to the intense competition for places.

Current head coach Massimilano Allegri hopes to end a two-season drought for a Scudetto this season.

Having won nine Serie A titles in a row previously, Juventus fans will be keen for their 37th crown sooner rather than later.

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