Manchester United coach hails Italian legends, Chelsea icon among them

Phil Neville - Everton

Phil Neville hails Italian legends Paolo Maldini and Gianfranco Zola on social networking site Twitter.

Phil Neville will probably always be in the shadows of his elder brother Gary Neville, but he is a legend in his own rights.

The 37-year-old was on the books of Manchester United as a player until 2005, and won the Premier League six times, the FA Cup thrice and the Champions League once among other trophies with the Red Devils. Neville proved himself to be a valuable player both in defence and in midfield, and was one of the most reliable players in Sir Alex Ferguson’s squads.

Neville moved to Everton in 2005 and played for the Toffees until 2013, helping the Merseyside outfit establish themselves as a top-10 club in the Premier League. In fact, he is a legend both at United and at Everton.

The former England international tasted Champions League football with United during his time at Old Trafford and played against the best players in Europe. Having featured in midfield, he had to come up against some of the legendary defenders frequently, but who is the best defender he has ever played against?


Paolo Maldini is one of the greatest ever defenders who could play both at centre-back and at left-back. In fact, some believe that the AC Milan icon was better at left-back than the legendary Roberto Carlos.

Interestingly, it is another Italian who Neville claims is the toughest player he had to man-mark in central midfield.

Gianfranco Zola played for Chelsea between 1996 and 2003, and is regarded as one of the greatest foreign players to have ever featured in the Premier League. He was key in the Blues winning the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, the FA Cup (twice) and the League Cup during his period at Stamford Bridge.

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