A central midfielder who is equally adept at dropping deep to fulfil more defensive duties and pushing forward to try his luck from outside the area, Riccardo Montolivo always appears to be well positioned, no matter his location on the park.

 

Born in Milan, he joined Atalanta’s youth academy and played his first senior Serie A game for the Orobici on 12 September 2004, before signing for Fiorentina in 2005, for whom he would go on to make 219 appearances, scoring 17 goals along the way. Renowned for his great vision and powerful shot, the midfield man once scored a right-footed goal against Ascoli that was measured at 117 km/h.

 

At international level, Montolivo made his way up through the various Italian youth teams between 2001 and 2007, and was called up to the full national side for the first time by Roberto Donadoni on 17 October 2007.

 

The talented midfield man had to wait for the arrival of Marcello Lippi at the helm in order to pull on the famous azzure jersey once again, doing so in a 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier against Bulgaria in October 2008. Having started all three of La Nazionale’s 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup encounters in South Africa, he was even handed the captain’s armband under Cesare Prandelli in a match with Ukraine in March 2011.

 

A versatile performer, he has previously filled in for Andrea Pirlo in the defensive midfielder role and played out on the flank. Montolivo also possesses a German passport – his mother is German and his grandparents are natives of Schleswig-Holstein.