It might have taken him a while to reach the very highest level, but Morgan De Sanctis has now installed himself as Italy's No3 goalkeeper behind Gianluigi Buffon and Marco Amelia.
Nurtured by Pescara in his formative years, De Sanctis made his debut in a Serie B match against Venice at the age of 17. Named in the side after the first and second-choice goalkeepers were ruled out through injury, he took his opportunity with both hands, saving a penalty taken by a young Christian Vieri.
The next notable step in his long career involved a record transfer to Juventus three years later. Denied a chance to impress, however, he stayed just two years in Turin after making only three appearances. A first-team opening eventually came at Udinese, where he played over 200 games between 1999 and 2007.
An athletic shotstopper who likes to command the box, De Sanctis was a UEFA European U-21 Championship winner in 2000 and made his full debut in 2005. On standby for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, he gained a place in Roberto Donadoni's squad for UEFA EURO 2008, consolidating his position as Buffon's second understudy with an appearance against Greece in November 2008.