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7 Classic Parma Legends to Collect

Having recently returned to the heights of Italian football, it’s easy to forget just how much of a force Parma were in their heyday in Serie A in the 90’s and early ’00s.

Parma’s Glory Days in Serie A

It’s the classic tale of a star burning ‘twice as bright’ but only for ‘half as long’.

With the cause being financial mismanagement and all-round corporate negligence… and a number of other things I really shouldn’t mention if I don’t feel like being sued.

At their peak, Parma really went and did their best to disrupt the established hierarchy of Italian football – with the likes of Juventus, AC Milan and Inter still ruling the land. And when it comes to assembling a single team on paper, they really came close to doing so!

So, with nostalgia at the forefront of our minds here at Hobby FC, let’s take a look at seven classic Parma legends every fan should remember and (maybe) start collecting.

Adriano

The ‘Emperor‘ in the making.

Adriano Leite Ribeiro, known simply as ‘Adriano’, joined Parma in 2002 on loan from Inter Milan. Although his stint at Parma was brief, it was incredibly impactful; with the broad Brazilian showcasing his prodigious talent through scoring 23 goals in 37 appearances.

He also formed a lethal partnership with then-counterpart Adrian Mutu. Who probably would have gone on to make this list if it wasn’t for… other recreational choices in his life.

(Again, I don’t want to get sued!)

But alas, we focus on Adriano as we saw the embryonic stages of what he would later become in that famously brash and nostalgic Parma shirt of the early 2000s. Of course, we would have liked to see more of him, but maybe that adds to his legend? It most certainly adds to his value, though!

Faustino Asprilla

The man, the myth… the maverick!

No, I’m not talking about Logan Paul. Of course, it’s Faustino Asprilla.

The flamboyant Colombian forward joined Parma in 1992 and this is where he truly made his name. Known for his skill, flair, and unpredictability, Asprilla was instrumental in Parma’s European successes in the mid-90s, including their UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup victory in 1993.

His move to Newcastle under Kevin Keegan’s ‘Entertainers side cemented his legacy as a proper cult hero as far as we (and most other football fans) are concerned.

And that cult-like South American status from an under-represented nation at this level highlights Asprilla as one of the clearer investment opportunities from this list of Parma players.

He’s also so darn cool, and that will always help!

Gianluigi Buffon

If Gianluigi Buffon the greatest goalkeeper of all time?

Well, it’s certainly a conversation to be had – and one of the key reasons (no doubt) as to why he’s one of the most collectible and widely loved goalkeepers to ever put on a pair of gloves.

Gianluigi Buffon’s professional career began at Parma, where he made his Serie A debut in 1995 as a teenager. Buffon quickly established himself as one of the world’s best goalkeepers, helping them win the UEFA Cup, Coppa Italia, and Supercoppa Italiana in 1999.

There’s a reason for why he went on to sign for Juventus in a deal which still beggars belief with the figures that get thrown about today, but you know what’s even crazier?

I bet they would’ve paid more!

Returning to Parma as a veteran has only cemented his status as a club legend even further.

Lilian Thuram

Ask most French footballers for a defender who gets into an all-time list at CB, and they’ll probably fight to the death of Laurent Blanc, Marcel Desailly and Lilian Thuram.

Not bad company to keep, is it?

Lilian Thuram joined Parma in 1996 from AS Monaco and became a cornerstone of their defense. His versatility and defensive prowess were crucial to Parma’s domestic and European campaigns. Thuram’s performances earned him a move to Juventus, where he continued to excel.

It’s always difficult to place much monetary value on defenders – unless your name is Paolo Maldini or Fabio Cannavaro – but this man in that shirt… that will always go down well with collectors.

Fabio Cannavaro

Talk of the devil!

Fabio Cannavaro, a defensive masterpiece, spent a significant part of his early career at Parma. Joining in 1995, Cannavaro became known for his exceptional reading of the game, leadership, and aerial ability, which later earned him a Ballon d’Or in 2006.

And lest we forget, he went and lifted the World Cup with Italy in that same year.

Like I say, one of the most collectible defenders of all time!

Hernan Crespo

Certain men were born to be footballers – and Hernan Crespo is one of those men!

Hernan Crespo, one of the finest strikers of his generation, had two successful spells at Parma. He first joined the club in 1996 from River Plate and immediately made an impact, scoring 80 goals in his initial tenure. Crespo returned to Parma in 2010, continuing to demonstrate his goal-scoring prowess.

For all we talk about players struggling from South America to Europe, Crespo stands as one of those truly elite forwards who was able to take most of these things in stride.

Add to that stints with Chelsea, AC Milan and Inter, and his time at Parma gets thrusted firmly into the limelight as the time when fans (and collectors) would remember him most fondly.

And the hair! He had such wonderful locks on him.

Juan Sebastian Veron

I feel so bad for Juan Sebastian Veron.

Known for his vision, passing, and creativity, joined Parma in 1998. Although his stay was brief, Veron’s influence in the midfield was undeniable. His performances at Parma helped secure a move to Lazio, where he continued to shine in the Serie A before a similar fate befell them!

It’s just unfortunate that promising moves to Manchester United and Chelsea failed to live up to expectation and he’s even branded a ‘flop’ by a large cohort of Premier League fans.

But to those Parma fans, he will undeniably be among some of the best midfielders they’ve seen.

Conclusion

Parma’s history is adorned with a number of legendary players.

Honestly, this list could have lasted a lot longer.

But these 7 in particular offer a nostalgic journey back to a golden era of football. They not only brought success but also enriched the lives of every Parma supporter with their unique talents and unforgettable performances.

They will never be forgotten.

Which of these Parma legends would you add to your collection?

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