Aged 26, left-sided centre-back Davide Astori has marked himself out as a potential replacement for Andrea Barzagli in the Italy rearguard. A powerful opponent at 1.88m tall and comfortable on the ball, he also provides an attacking threat at set-pieces thanks to his aerial prowess.

 

Originally from Lombardy, Astori joined regional giants AC Milan at the age of 19 in 2006 but never turned out for the club's first team. Instead, he spent two seasons learning his trade on loan at third-tier outfits Pizzighettone and Cremonese, before signing for Cagliari and making his Serie A debut on 14 September 2008.

 

 

After being selected by Cesare Prandelli for a number of Italy squads, he finally won his maiden Azzurri cap in a 2-0 victory against Ukraine on 29 March 2011. He was subsequently called up as Italy's 24th man ahead of UEFA EURO 2012, being put on standby with Barzagli an injury doubt, only to miss out on Poland and Ukraine when the Juventus stopper was passed fit.