A left-footed central defender who stands out for his technical quality, Alessio Romagnoli was born in Anzio on 12th January 1995. He developed in Roma’s youth system and made his debut for the Giallorossi at a very young age on 11th December 2012 in the Coppa Italia under Zdenek Zeman’s management who recognised his potential to become the international that he is now. His debut in Serie A came on 22nd December as Roma beat AC Milan 4-2.
His breakout season was the 2014-15 one which he spent on loan at Sampdoria and he was an automatic starter for Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side, making 30 appearances and scoring two goals. With the Serbian coach very keen on him, he moved on to Milan with Mihajlovic after a long summer of negotiations for an eventual fee of €25 million on 11th August 2015. There, he looked to emulate the many great Azzurri defenders who played for the Rossoneri, including his role model Alessandro Nesta. He lifted his first trophy as a professional on 23rd December in Doha as Milan beat Juventus on penalties to win the Supercoppa Italiana.
He’s also made it quickly on the international scene as he burst through the various youth sides. After attending a training camp with the senior side in 2014 led by Cesare Prandelli, he went to the Under-21 European Championship the next year in the Czech Republic. His first senior call-up came on 27th August 2016 when Gian Piero Ventura picked him for the matches against France and Israel. He returned briefly to Luigi Di Biagio’s Under-21 set-up before making his senior international debut on 6th October 2016 as Italy drew 1-1 with Spain in a World Cup qualifier. The young defender currently has five Italy caps to his name
Salvatore Sirigu was born in Nuoro on 12th January 1987. He spent his youth at Venezia and Palermo and made his first steps among the professional ranks with Cremonese and Ancona.
Sirigu became a regular for Palermo in 2009 and performed well, gaining a reputation as one of Gianluigi Buffon’s potential heirs. He represented Italy with the Under-18s, Under-19s and Under-21s and made his debut for the senior National Team in 2010.
He was one of the hottest goalkeeping properties in Europe in the summer of 2011 and subsequently joined Paris Saint-Germain. With PSG he won three Ligue 1 titles, four Trophée des Champions, three Coupe de la Ligue and two Coupe de France titles. He was also named Ligue 1’s top goalkeeper for two years on the run in 2013 and 2014. He joined Sevilla in the summer of 2016, although switched to Osasuna in the winter.
Since last summer Sirigu has been playing for Torino.
His first call-up to the National Team came on February 28th 2010, as Lippi’s Azzurri prepared to take on Cameroon in a friendly in Munich. However, his debut eventually did not come until months later, as he featured against Ivory Coast in Cesare Prandelli’s first game in charge. He was vice-captain at the 2012 Euros, while he was also then present at the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, during which he started the opening match against England. Under Conte he regained the goalkeeper’s starting spot, featuring against the Netherlands, Albania and Bulgaria. During qualifying for Euro 2016, he played second fiddle to Buffon.