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5/31/2008 11:09:00 PM

Now it's official: Gianluca Zambrotta is a new Milan player. The full back, who is about to play for Italy at Euro 2008, leaves Barcelona to strengthen the Milan defence.


MILAN - Official! Gianluca Zambrotta is a new Milan player.

Born in Como on 19 February 1977, the new Milan full back started out playing in his home city. Initially employed as a winger, Zambrotta made his professional debut at age 17, with Calcio Como, where he played for three seasons, from 1994 to 1997, in Serie B and C1.

His Serie A debut came on 31 August 1997, after his passage to Bari, against Parma. His stay in Apulia lasted for two seasons, durig which Zambrotta made 59 appearences and scored 6 goals.

Then, in '99, his passage to Juventus: there Juventus experimented playing him as a left back and it turned out to be a winning bet, as Zambrotta grew to become one of the best players in the world in that role. With the Bianconeri he played for seven seasons.
In the summer of 2006, after the chaos of 'Calciopoli', he leaves Italy and joins Frank Rijkaard's Barcelona. The Blaugrana's coach employed him mostly as a right back. With the Spaniards Zambrotta played a total of 58 games, scoring 3 goals.

A regular starter for the Azzurri, with Italy Zambrotta has made 71 appearences, scoring twice. The debut came on 10 February 1999 in Italy-Norway 0-0. Zambrotta participated to the World Cups of 2002 and 2006, and the Euros of 2000 and 2004.

In 2006 he was crowned world champion in Germany. With him, 5 Milanisti: Gattuso, Pirlo, Inzaghi, Nesta and Gilardino, plus Oddo who would become a Rossonero after a few months. His contribution to the World Cup was fundamental, and Fifa elected him as one of the best player in the tournament. He also scored a goal in the quarter final against Ukraine (3-0), and provided the assist for the third goal by Toni. Also memorable was his shot that hit the crossbar in the semifinal against Germany. Aside from the victory, he also received a special honor: the honorary presidency of Como Calcio.

In his personal trophy cabinet, he can boast: with Juve, the Scudettos of 2002 and 2003 (as well as those of 2005, revoked by the sports justice, and of 2006, later assigned to Inter), and two Italian Supercups (2002 and 2003): with the Bianconeri he also lost the Champions League in Manchester against Milan in 2003; with Barcelona he won one Spanish Supercup. And, obviously, the World Cup, with the national team.

At the moment, Gianluca Zambrotta is preparing to face the European adventure in Austria and Switzerland with the Azzurri shirt.


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