With Balotelli, Ogbonna, Osvaldo & Thiago Motta becoming prominent, here is Italy's greatest multi-national XI

The Azzurri finished Friday's game in Poland with three men of dual-nationality on the field, continuing a long tradition of the national side's player integration
By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Editor

Friday's 2-0 victory over Poland was a landmark occasion, as Italy finished with two black players on the field for the first time ever. Angelo Ogbonna's introduction as a late substitute added to Mario Balotelli's third start in the national side, leaving the Azzurri to end the match with two men of African descent on the pitch.

When also considering the introduction of another sub, Thiago Motta, who was born and bred in Brazil but has an Italian passport, plus Argentine-born Pablo Daniel Osvaldo's presence on the bench, and La Nazionale has a huge multi-national presence in the current ranks.

But this is nothing new for Italy, who have had many naturalised foreign nationals and dual-nationality representatives in their squads in years past. Names such as Raimundo Orsi, Jose Altafini, Julio Libonatti and Omar Sivori have all worn the blue shirt with distinction having come to the peninsula at a late stage in their development.

In honour of Italy's long-standing diversity, Goal.com takes a look at Italy's greatest multi-national XI, based on their impact on the Azzurri.


Caps: 0
The 22-year-old Gomis has been a member of Torino's youth ranks since 2005, and this summer returned from a successful loan spell with Casale to become a Granata first-team squad player. With Senegalese parents, but born in Cuneo, he was tipped by some to become Italy's first multi-national goalkeeper, but may now be usurped by younger brother Alfred, also a shot-stopper in the club's primavera team.


Caps: 18

Caps: 71

Giuseppe WILSON
Caps: 3

After 16 caps in seven years for Argentina, Monti left San Lorenzo for Juventus in 1931. 'Luisito' changed national teams at the same time, going on to win the 1934 World Cup with the Azzurri. Tripoli-born Gentile was one of the key members of the 1982 world champions, notoriously marking Diego Maradona out of the second round game against Argentina as they progressed to a memorable final against West Germany. Lazio full-back/sweeper Wilson, born in Darlington in the north-east of England, also represented Italy at a World Cup finals, earning two of his three caps in the ill-fated 1974 campaign.


Caps: 55

Caps: 34

Caps: 48

Raimundo ORSI
Caps: 35

Argentine born and bred, Camoranesi is Italy's most-capped oriundo and is another multi-national to have won a World Cup with the Azzurri, playing a big part in the successful 2006 campaign. Di Matteo spent only three years of his career in Italy after being born in Switzerland, but still represented the country 34 times. His tally includes appearances at Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup in France. Perrotta moved to the peninsula at the age of five having been born in Greater Manchester, and became a firm fixture in the Nazionale midfield in 2006 after a great run of form with Roma. Orsi was another to play for both Argentina and Italy, collecting 13 caps in South America either side of his Azzurri stint, during which he was a 1934 world champion.


Caps: 6

Christian VIERI
Caps: 49

Giuseppe ROSSI
Caps: 27

Manchester City striker Balotelli was born in Italy to Ghanaian parents, but never showed any inclination to play for the Black Stars. He has quickly become one of Cesare Prandelli's most vital squad members, and with the presence of Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi doubtful for next summer's Euro 2012 finals, he could prove to be their most important player in Poland and Ukraine. Vieri was Italy's 'bomber' at two World Cups and the Euro 2004 finals, netting an impressive 27 goals in his 49 caps. But, having been raised in Sydney, Australia, there was a time when he was considering playing cricket for the Green and Golds instead. Rossi was born in New Jersey and is another native English speaker, but his Italian heritage led to him representing the Azzurri. He is facing a race against time to regain fitness ahead of Euro 2012 having not yet featured in a major finals beyond the 2009 Confederations Cup.