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Rossoneri Advent Calendar Day 19: Gianluca Zambrotta and the Defensive Versatility

31 Days Remembering Players From Milan’s Past, Each Date Will Feature A Player Who Donned The Jersey Number.

Juventus FC v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Gianluca Zambrotta featured for AC Milan between 2008 and 2012 after a storied career at Juventus and Barcelona. Zambrotta was an important part of the Italy national team on their way to the 2006 World Cup and was an important addition to the squad as he brought a lot of experience following the departures of Oddo and Cafu. Zambrotta would go on to lift the Serie A title with Milan in 2010-11 and the SuperCoppa Italiana.

AC Milan v Novara Calcio - Serie A Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Zambrotta joined Milan in 2008 to solve the crisis at right back after the departures of numerous legends following the 2007 Champions League victory. Zambrotta was already a big name at the time but was in need of rejuvenation and found a refreshing atmosphere at Milan. During his four years at the club, he significantly contributed to the club consistent form and culminating in a Scudetto in 2010-11. During the league winning campaign, Zambrotta was a vital rotation player and featured in a utility role as he filled in any gaps in the defensive line. He mostly featured as right back behind Ignazio Abate and at left back behind Luca Antonini. His support play and his ability to slot in was critical for Massimiliano Allegri's tactics as his versatility allowed increased competition amongst the wing backs. Zambrotta memorably started and delivered an incredible performance against Inter Milan in the 2011 SuperCoppa where Milan lifted the trophy and pocketed Zanetti.

Achievements with Milan

  • Serie A: 2010–11
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2011

Top Highlight

Zambrotta was a stunning wing back and he scored a stunner in his first season at the club against Lazio. He took a rocket of a shot from about 10 yards outside the box. It was a sight to behold and displayed the kind of threat Zambrotta was. Watch the highlight of the goal here or below.