Three for Thursday: Italian World Cup veterans in MLS
With the Montreal Impact announcing the signing of 35-year-old former Italian international Bernardo Corradi on Thursday, we take a look back at the three best Italian World Cup veterans to grace MLS over the years. The former Lazio, Inter Milan, Manchester City and Udinese forward will certainly add a host of experience to the Impact front line.
Here are three of his fellow countrymen who brought experience and a whole lot more to MLS.
The current manager of Serie A side Parma and the former Italian national team manager, Donadoni spent two seasons with the MetroStars when MLS began in 1996. In his playing days, Donadoni was known as a dribbling genius on the right side of midfield, who made his name at Atalanta before wedging his MLS stint between two spells at AC Milan.
In the league’s inaugural season, Donadoni was the MetroStars' marquee player, gaining a place on the MLS Best XI for the 1996 campaign. During his two-year stint with the league, the mercurial winger scored six times in 49 appearances and recorded 17 assists, bamboozling opposing defenders with his mesmerizing dribbles game after game. His MLS form was in fact so good, that he earned a recall to the Italian national team.
Donadoni also played in two World Cup’s for the Azzurri, in 1990 and 1994, where he helped guide his country to third- and second-place finishes respectively. His glittering career for European giants AC Milan also saw him pick up five Serie A titles and three European cups, yet the elusive MLS Cup evaded him during his time with the MetroStars.
The legendary Italian 'keeper, known for his loveable eccentric nature, brought passion, experience and outstanding goalkeeping ability to MLS in 1997 when he signed for the New England Revolution. Zenga, in fact, loved the league so much that he returned for a second spell as player/coach with the Revs in 1999.
Zenga was a mainstay for the Italian national team throughout the 1990 World Cup on home soil, as the Azzurri narrowly missed out on making the final after losing to Argentina in a penalty shootout.
For New England, Zenga made 47 appearances and recorded an impressive goals against average of 1.60. The team made the playoffs in 1997 and Zenga was named player/coach of the Revs in 1999. However, the move proved to be an unsuccessful one, as New England failed to make the playoffs and Zenga was replaced by Steve Nicol.
Known as "Uomo Ragno" (Spiderman) for his wonderful agility, Zenga is currently head coach of UAE side Al Nasr Dubai and has managed no fewer than 12 teams across six countries since leaving MLS in 1999.
His colorful character was seen time and time again in his MLS career, especially when celebrating a goal for his side. One particular goal celebration, in a 1997 clash with the Tampa Bay Mutiny, saw Zenga run off the field to kiss his girlfriend and leave the net open. From the kickoff, Tampa narrowly missed striking the ball into an empty net. His cavalier personality and style of play certainly brought entertainment to the early years of MLS.
Galderisi spent two seasons in MLS (1997 and 1998) with two different sides, New England and Tampa Bay. The speedy striker, who had the nickname "Nanu" (Short), scored 12 times in 37 appearances for Tampa Bay, yet failed to hit the back of the net for the Revs over two spells totaling 11 games.
The diminutive forward participated in Italy’s 1986 World Cup campaign in Mexico. Yet despite starting all four games, he couldn’t help his side crash out in the Round of 16 match with a French side inspired by Michel Platini.
Galderisi is currently the head coach of Italian third-tier club Triestina and has managed 10 lower-league Italian sides since his first managerial position with Gubbio in 2000.
Yet although Galderisi performed well in MLS, he will go down in history as being remembered for spearheading Verona’s title winning season in 1985, the one and only time the northern Italian side has lifted the Scudetto in their history.