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Parma's all-time Serie A XI

Following news of their bankruptcy, Sports Mole picks out the best 11 players to have featured for Parma since their promotion to Serie A in 1990.

Yesterday afternoon Parma were declared bankrupt, meaning that the two-time UEFA Cup and three-time Coppa Italia winners are expected to be demoted down to the amateur leagues.

The situation is a far cry from the 1990s, when having gained promotion from Serie B for the first time in their history at the turn of that decade, the Crusaders were one of Italy's best teams and had some of European football's greatest players to call upon.

Here, Sports Mole selects the best 11 Parma players from that successful period at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.

GOALKEEPER - Gianluigi Buffon (1995-01)

Gianluigi Buffon of Parma during the UEFA Cup fourth round second leg game between Werder Bremen and Parma at the Weserstadion in Bremen, Germany© Getty Images

Thrown in for his debut as a 17-year-old against AC Milan back in 1995, Buffon went on to make a string of impressive saves to keep the likes of Roberto Baggio and George Weah at bay. From that moment onwards, he ousted the experienced Luca Bucci between the posts and ended up making over 200 appearances for Parma. Prior to leaving for Juventus in 2001 for £32.6m (still a world-record fee for a goalkeeper), Buffon won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia once.

LEFT-BACK - Antonio Benarrivo (1991-04)

Antonio Benarrivo of Parma in action during the Italian Serie A match against Inter Milan played at Stadio Tardini in Parma, Italy© Getty Images

The 23-capped Italy international was a manager's dream because he could operate comfortably either at right-back or left-back. Benarrivo seemed to thrive playing in a 5-3-2 formation, which provided him with the freedom to make rampaging runs down the flanks. His 13 years with Parma may have ended without a Serie A title, yet he still won a host of medals, including the Coppa Italia (twice) and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

CENTRE-BACK - Fabio Cannavaro (1995-02)

Andreas Herzog of Werder Bremen chases Fabio Cannavaro of Parma during the UEFA Cup fourth round second leg game between Werder Bremen and Parma at the Weserstadion in Bremen, Germany© Getty Images

Having arrived from Napoli in 1995 as a promising defender, Cannavaro would depart for Inter Milan seven years later regarded by many to be one of the game's best centre-backs. Not long after joining, the future World Cup winner was made captain of Parma, whom he helped to win the Coppa Italia on two occasions, as well as the UEFA Cup and Supercoppa Italiana.

CENTRE-BACK - Lorenzo Minotti (1987-96)

Lorenzo Minotti of Parma AC in action during a match against Anderlecht at the Ennio Tardini Stadium in Parma, Italy© Getty Images

The defender is a firm favourite among the Parma faithful, having helped the club to gain promotion 25 years ago in his role as skipper. While he found it difficult to break into the Italy national side due to the presence of Franco Baresi, he was a regular in the Parma backline. Minotti was a centre-back with a keen eye for goal, including one during the 1993 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final triumph over Royal Antwerp in 1993 at Wembley.

RIGHT-BACK - Lilian Thuram (1996-01)

Lilian Thuram of Parma in action during the UEFA Cup Round 3 Leg 2 match against Rangers in Parma, Italy© Getty Images

Thuram may have ended up winning the World Cup and European Championships, as well as playing for heavyweights such as Juventus and Barcelona, yet the foundations for such an impressive career were laid at Parma. Having joined from Monaco in 1996, the Frenchman went on to impress during his five years at the Tardini. His ability to read the game attracted the attention Juve, who shelled out £23m for his signature.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD - Diego Fuser (1998-01)

Diego Fuser of Parma and Matias Almeyda of Lazio in action during the Serie A match between Parma and Lazio played at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, Parma, Italy© Getty Images

Having played for the likes of AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio, Fuser rocked up at Parma in 1998 and made an instant impact. In his first season, the holding midfielder was a key member of the starting linuep as the Crusaders won a Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup double, before lifting the Supercoppa Italiana at the start of the following campaign.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD - Dino Baggio (1994-00)

Dino Baggio of Parma on the ball during the Serie A match against Inter Milan at the San Siro in Milan, Italy© Getty Images

The story goes that Baggio initially turned down Parma's advances in 1994 to stay with Juventus, but at the 11th hour the midfielder had a change of heart. He would almost instantly end up returning to haunt his former employers, scoring both of Parma's goal in their 2-1 UEFA Cup final triumph over Juve. He was sold to Lazio in 2000 having also helped Parma to win the UEFA Cup again in 1999, as well as the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD - Juan Sebastian Veron (1998-99)

Juan Veron of Parma in action during the Serie A match against Vicenza played at the Stadio Tardini in Parma, Italy© Getty Images

The Argentine may have only spent a sole season at the Tardini, but it was one to remember. Veron was the creative hub of what was a hard-working midfield unit, with a host of impressive displays helping Parma to win the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia in 1999. Those performances captured the attention of Sven-Goran Eriksson, who shelled out £18.1m of Lazio's coffers to sign Veron 12 months after he joined Parma.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD - Gianfranco Zola (1993-96)

Gianfranco Zola of Parma holds off the challenge of Ciro Ferrara of Juventus during the Serie a league match between Parma and Juventus which was played at the Luigi Ferraris stadium, Parma© Getty Images

When considering that Zola produced some of the best football of his career at Parma, it still remains a source of frustration among supporters that Carlo Ancelotti could not find a space for him in the team in November 1996, when the attacker was sold to Chelsea. He scored a total of 51 goals for the Crusaders, who won the UEFA Cup during his time there. Also, of Zola's 35 Italy caps, 26 of them were earned while on the books of Parma.

STRIKER - Hernan Crespo (1996-00 & 2010-12)

Hernan Crespo of Parma celebrates a goal during the Serie A match against Vicenza at the Stadio Tardini in Parma, Italy© Getty Images

Following his arrival from River Plate in 1996, Crespo struggled to adapt to European football, so much so that it got to the point where a number of fans called for Ancelotti to drop the Argentine striker. The head coach persisted, though, and his patience was eventually vindicated as the frontman went on to become the leading goalscorer in the club's history. Over two spells, Crespo found the net 94 times for Parma in 201 appearances. In 2000, he was sold to Lazio for a then world-record fee of £35m.

STRIKER - Enrico Chiesa (1996-99)

Enrico Chiesa of Parma in action against Pierre Issa of Marseille during the UEFA Cup Final against Marseille played in Moscow, Russia© Getty Images

For much of Crespo's goal-laden first spell with Parma, he was accompanied up front by Chiesa. While the former Sampdoria man did not make as many headlines as his partner, he still weighed in with some important goals. Like Crespo, he scored in the 1999 UEFA Cup final, taking his tally for the competition to eight, which is more goals than any other player managed during the 1998-99 campaign.

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Franco Baresi in action for Italy in the World Cup on June 08, 1990.
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