When you think about Italian soccer, you think about defense.
Strength and organization in the back is the hallmark of the Italian game. From the catenaccio days of the 1960s and '70s to the rock-solid defense that carried the Azzurri to their fourth world championship in 2006, defense has been key to the Italian soul.
That attitude has carried into the country's league. The Serie A is renowned for its tactical complexity and stout defense, and the defenses of its 20 clubs are generally very hard to find goals against.
In the past 25 years, there have been many defenders of special mention gracing the stadia of the Serie A. In this article, we will look at the best of them.
A note about selection and ordering: the 25-year time window—starting from the beginning of the 1988-89 season and stretching to today—is going to be taken extremely literally. If a player's career overlapped the 25-year period but was not entirely inside it, the period before has been disregarded, and players have been judged solely on what they have done within the time frame. This may cause you to see players you would normally consider to be at the top of a discussion like this to be ranked lower than if we were looking at the entire history of the league.
Now, without further ado, the top 20 Serie A defenders of the last quarter century.