Did you Know?
Zambrotta is regarded by pundits as one of Italy’s greatest attacking full-backs/wing-backs. Although naturally right-footed, he was an ambidextrous player who excelled both at offensive and defensive play, which made him tactically versatile, allowing him to be deployed on the left as well as on the right side of the pitch, as a full-back or wing-back in a 4 or 5-man defence, or even as a winger or wide midfielder, a position in which he was often played earlier on in his career. His main attributes were his pace, marking ability, tackling, strength, tenacity, and stamina. A tenacious and hard-working player, he was also gifted with good technique and ball skills, as well as an excellent crossing ability and a powerful shot from outside the area. In 2002 under new Italy Team manager Giovanni Trapattoni, Zambrotta also represented the Italy senior side at the 2002 World Cup, where Italy were controversially eliminated in the round of 16 by co-hosts South Korea, on a golden goal.
Did you Know?
In 2003, after the retirement of Paolo Maldini from the national team and a successful switch to left-back with Juventus, Zambrotta became the first choice for this position in the national team. On 30 May 2004, Zambrotta scored his first ever international goal in a warm-up against Tunisia. A Bernardo Corradi header was flapped out for Zambrotta’s fierce volley into the roof of the net in the 89th minute while Italy won the game by 4–0. In Euro 2004, although the performance of Italy was largely disappointing and the team was eliminated at the group stage, Zambrotta was one of the few Italian players to be praised for his performances, and was elected to be part of the Team of the Tournament. In Italy’s final group match against Bulgaria, which inded in a 2–1 victory the Italians, he was involved in both of his team’s goals, setting up Antonio Cassano’s injury time winner, although Italy finished third in their group on direct encounters, following a three-way five point tie with Sweden and Denmark.