Born in Brazil, holding player Thiago Motta made his Italy debut against Germany on 9 February 2011, when coach Cesare Prandelli brought him into the fold to bulk up an Azzurri midfield in the midst of transition.

 

Athletic and a powerful presence at 1.87m tall, Motta first learned the ropes at Sao Paolo club Juventus, before heading for Europe to join Barcelona at the age of 17. Since then, he has impressed with his excellent vision, rapid distribution of the ball and absolute composure, making him a calming influence at the heart of all the teams he has played for. The only negative has been a certain fragility, meaning he has tended to fall regular victim to injury. 

 

Still based in Brazil, his family hails from Polesella in Veneto, and since Motta never represented Brazil at senior level he was able to make his Italy bow in a 1-1 draw with Germany at the age of 28 on 9 February 2011. He quickly made his mark and looked set to become a key performer at UEFA EURO 2012, but, after coming on as a substitute in the final against Spain, the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder suffered a hamstring injury just three minutes later and left his side to finish the match with ten men. He has not been utilised by Prandelli since, leaving him keen to add to his 13 caps and one goal.