Easily recognisable thanks to his blond hair and white boots, Italy and AC Milan right-back Ignazio Abate is the son of former Udinese and Inter Milan goalkeeper Beniamino Abate. Very quick and always keen to get forward, the 26-year-old enjoyed a rapid impact at international level, needing just a few months to relegate Italy stalwarts Massimo Oddo and Gianluca Zambrotta to the sidelines.


Abate rose through the ranks at Milan and was handed a first-team debut against Celta Viga in the UEFA Champions League on 3 December 2003, but he spent the next six years at a selection of clubs around Italy, having been loaned out to accelerate his progress.


A winger when he first started out, Abate took up position on the right side of midfield during that spell, before being repurposed as a modern-style full-back when Leonardo brought him back to Milan in 2009. It was a shrewd switch, and two years later on 11 November 2011, Abate won his maiden Italy cap against Poland. 


A starter at UEFA EURO 2012, he contested three games in Poland and Ukraine and has racked up nine appearances in total, with his versatility making him an attractive option for Cesare Prandelli regardless of the system he implements.