PARMA

Hernan Crespo had a difficult start to his career with Parma having left River Plate in 1996. He failed to score in his first six months at the club and was routinely booed with head coach Carlo Ancelotti coming in for much criticism for keeping faith with the selection of Crespo. His faith was, however, vindicated: the young Argentine went on to score 12 times in 27 matches in his first Serie A season and Parma finished runners-up to Juventus.

Fabio Cannavaro is regarded by pundits as being one of the greatest and most complete defenders of his generation, winning the World Cup, the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in his career. He was at one point the record appearance holder for the Azzurri until his friend Gianluigi Buffon overtook him.

Cannavaro was sold to Parma in the summer of 1995 from Napoli and was instantly a fan favourite. With Buffon and Lilian Thuram, they formed one of the tightest defensive units in Europe and won the 1999 Uefa Cup and Coppa Italia double.
Although he predominantly excelled as a centreback, he was also deployed as a right or left sided fullback on occasion. This was made possible due to Cannavaro's tactical versatility, technical ability, ball playing ability and pace.
After over 250 games for Parma he joined Inter Milan in 2002 for €23m.

Having learnt his trade under the guidance of Maradona, in 1993 Zola left Napoli and joined fellow Serie A side Parma. Zola later said that "I learnt everything from Diego. I used to spy on him every time he trained and learned how to curl a free-kick just like him."

He won the Uefa cup and the Italian cup in 1995 and it was with the 'i Gialloblù', yellow and blues, that he cemented his reputation as a creative player. Ironically, coach Carlo Ancelotti came to see Zola as a "square peg" unable to fit into his rigid system. Zola was played out of position and ultimately made available for transfer and moved to Chelsea.

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