On This Day – November 12, 1988: The “Best Serie A Players” Squad Fiasco

Diego Maradona of Napoli and Inter’s Lothar Matthaus playing together? When on earth did this happen???

Introducing the Nazionale Lega Serie A, a short-lived experiment that consisted in putting together a selection of the best players featuring in the Italian top-flight regardless of their nationality.

This fascinating concept, at least on paper, resulted in a Nazionale that played only 11 games between 1960 and 1991, most of them between the 1960s and the earlies 1970s.

Due to the lack of interest from the general audience and an international calendar that was starting to get more and more packed, the Nazionale Lega Serie A was eventually disbanded. No one has been hearing about it since 1991.

Perhaps the game that accelerated its demise was a friendly matchup against Poland played on November 12, 1988. The Nazionale took the field for the first time in 16 years but, despite the presence of such heavyweights as Maradona and Matthaus, only 7000 people showed up at the San Siro. It was an absolute fiasco.

For the record, here are the 11 starters from that day, lined up in a 4-3-3 fashion by coach Arrigo Sacchi:

Giovanni Galli (Milan) – Moreno Mannini (Sampdoria) – Giuseppe Volpecina (Verona) – Lothar Matthaus (Inter) – Mauro Tassotti (Milan) – Lionello Manfredonia (Roma) – Fausto Pari (Sampdoria) – Alberico Evani (Milan) – Careca (Napoli) – Diego Maradona (Napoli) – Pietro Paolo Virdis (Milan)

The game ended 2-2, with Tassotti and Maradona scoring for the Nazionale Lega Serie A.

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