|Full Name : Alessandro Nesta
Date Of Birth: March 19, 1976
Place of Birth: Rome, Italy
Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Position: Centre Back
Current Club: A.C. Milan
National Career: 1996-2006
Caps: 78 (0)
Alessandro Nesta, (born March 19, 1976 in Rome) is an Italian World Cup-winning footballer. He plays centre back for Italian Serie A club A.C. Milan. He is considered among the best central defenders in the world.
Nesta was raised in the Cinecittà area of Rome. He attended the Margherita Bosco primary school where he first started playing football. His older brother, Fernando, was advised to play a sport because of a back problem and enrolled at the local football club. Alessandro threw a tantrum until his father gave in and enrolled him as well, thus marking the beginning of his career. He was first discovered by Francesco Rocca, then a scout for A.S. Roma, but Nesta's father, a Lazio fan, turned down the offer.
In 1985, he joined S.S. Lazio's youth academy, where he rose through the ranks playing in various positions, including playing as a striker and midfielder, before settling in defence. His international career first showed signs of growth when he played for Italy's under-15 and under-16 sides. He was promoted to Lazio's senior squad in 1993, and first came to the attention of fans for being involved in a training ground accident that broke teammate Paul Gascoigne's leg.
He assumed the team captaincy in 1997, and helped Lazio win the 1998 Coppa Italia after beating A.C. Milan in the final, in which he was one of the goalscorers. This was followed by a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and European Super Cup in 1999, and a rare Scudetto and Coppa Italia double in the 1999-00 season, in addition to two Italian Super Cups.
Just before the 2002-03 Serie A campaign, financial woes forced Lazio to sell Nesta to Milan for approximately €30 million paid over three years, after being valued at over £50 million by Lazio just a year earlier. In his first season with the Rossoneri, Nesta won the 2002-03 UEFA Champions League and the third Coppa Italia of his career. The next season, he won his first European Super Cup and second career Scudetto. Despite missing most of the 2006-07 season due to a shoulder injury, Nesta nonetheless played a vital part in Milan's return to the 2006-07 CL final, where Milan defeated Liverpool F.C. 2-1. He signed a contract extension that will keep him at Milan until 2011.
Nesta scored his first goal for Milan since April 2006 in a 1-1 draw with A.C. Siena on September 15, 2007.
Nesta was a member of the Under-21 squad that won the 1996 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, in which he was named the top defender of the competition. He earned his first cap for the Azzurri against Moldova on October 5, 1996. He has been capped 78 times for Italy, and participated in Euro 1996, the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2000, the 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004, and the 2006 World Cup.
During the 2006 WC, he suffered an injury in Italy's group match against the Czech Republic, and was forced to leave the match early. This made it three times unlucky for Nesta; he previously ruptured a knee ligament against Austria during the 1998 WC, and missed Italy's final game in the 2002 World Cup with an injured foot. On July 7, 2006, ESPN analyst Tommy Smyth proclaimed Nesta as the top defender and one of the tournament's top five players.
In June 2007, Nesta asked not to be called up against the Faroe Islands and Lithuania because of his recent marriage, leading many to believe that his international retirement was imminent. On July 20, Nesta indeed ended his international career, citing fatigue and recurrent injuries.
On May 7, 2007, Nesta married his fiancée, Gabriela Pagnozzi, in a civil ceremony in Milan; the religious ceremony followed on May 30, 2007, in Ravello. Gabrela is a specialist in economics and was working for Casa Italia, the Italian national team headquarters, during the 1998 World Cup. Their relationship was born when she tended to him following his injury against Austria. "I can say, I got the injury and her in France then. And the injury has gone, [but] she has stayed with me." Their daughter, Sofia, was born on October 19, 2006.
Serie A: 2000
Coppa Italia: 1998 (2 Titles)
Super Coppa Italia: 1998, 2000 (2 Titles)
UEFA Super Cup: 1999
UEFA Cup Winner's Cup: 1999
Serie A: 2003, 2011
Coppa Italia: 2003
Supper Coppa Italia: 2004
UEFA Champions League: 2003-03, 2006-07 (2 Titles)
UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007 (2 Titles)
Club World Cup: 2007
Italy National Team
Italian Under-20 Championship: 1995
UEFA European Championship
FIFA World Cup: 2006