Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Senior Caps: 2
Italians normally don't look to the future when it comes to goalkeeping. The incumbent at that position is the best goalkeeper in the world, and keepers are the only players who get better with age.
Dino Zoff led the Azzurri to the World Cup title in 1982 at the age of 40, and Gianluigi Buffon isn't really close to that. At 34, it is more than conceivable that he will captain the team in Brazil in 2014—and possibly beyond.
That said, it's never a bad thing to consider the options behind him, especially considering Buffon's injury history—and the horrific results the last time his understudy was forced onto the field.
Federico Marchetti showed himself to be completely unsuited to international play when he took over for Buffon at halftime of the first group stage game against Paraguay. In the two-and-a-half games that followed he faced five shots on goal—and let four of them through. He has not been in the international picture since.
The man who took his place in the first games after South Africa was Sirigu, then of Palermo and now of Paris Saint-Germain.
He seized the starting job at Palermo in 2009 and played so well with the Rosaneri that he caught the eye of the ambitious powers-that-be at PSG, where he has become one of Ligue 1's best goalkeepers and a fan favorite.
In the year-and-a-half since the South African debacle, he has often been the third-choice keeper behind Buffon and Emiliano Viviano. But his current form at PSG (31 matches, 100 saves, nine clean sheets in Ligue 1 play) and Viviano's recent injury woes have brought Sirigu back into play.
He will duel Viviano—who now plays for Sirigu's former club in Sicily—for the No. 2 job and potentially the right to succeed Buffon when he does decide to hang up his cleats for Italy.