Very few of Italian football’s finest have plied their trade in the Premier League throughout the years, though England’s top tier has still seen a sprinkling of talent from one of football’s most respected nations.
We’ve decided to look back and celebrate some of the very best the league has seen, here are the five top scoring Italians in Premier League history:
Graziano Pelle – 23 goals
Graziano Pelle falls into the category of players often referred to as ‘late bloomers’, having enjoyed a rather modest goalscoring record in his homeland before enjoying successful spells at Feyenoord and Southampton.
The Italian’s prolific record for the former earned the forward a move to the Premier League in 2014, where he formed part of an exciting Saints side alongside the likes of Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mane that secured back-to-back top seven finishes.
Pelle spent two full seasons on the South Coast and reached double figures for Premier League goals in each campaign, making his senior debut for Italy at 29-years-old and impressing for the Azzurri at the European Championships in 2016.
A powerful but mobile target-man, Pelle scored 23 league goals for the Saints and became a popular figure at St Mary’s before a money-spinning move to Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng in 2016.
Fabrizio Ravanelli – 25 goals
Fabrizio Ravanelli was one of several exciting imports at Middlesbrough in the mid-nineties, the eccentric Italian arriving shortly after helping Juventus to Champions League success.
The prospect of a leading forward leaving the European champions for Teesiside seems implausible more than two decades later, but the early seasons of the Premier League was a different time and Ravanelli soon helped usher in a new dawn of European stars coming to these shores.
The ‘White Feather’ marked his debut with a stunning hat-trick against Liverpool, and scored prolifically throughout the campaign, hitting 31 goals in all competitions as ‘Boro reached the finals of both domestic cups.
Ravanelli’s goals, however, were not enough to win the club’s maiden piece of major silverware and their fortunes were even worse in league action, suffering a shock relegation after being deducted three points for failing to fulfil a Premier League fixture against Blackburn.
Ravanelli unsurprisingly didn’t fancy a stint in the second tier and departed at the end of the season for Marseille, later returning to English football for a brief spell at Derby County and finishing his Premier League career with 25 goals.
Benito Carbone – 35 goals
The diminutive forward rejected the mandatory drinking culture of English football to establish himself as a cult figure at a succession of top-flight clubs, the floppy-haired fan favourite bringing a welcome – if inconsistent – touch of class to the Premier League.
Amongst the first Italians to try their luck in the exciting new era of the Premier League, Sheffield Wednesday smashed their transfer record to sign Benito Carbone from Inter Milan in 1996.
The forward helped the Owls to an impressive seventh-placed finish in his first season at Hillsborough, before forming a fine partnership with compatriot Paulo Di Canio following the latter’s move to South Yorkshire.
Carbone spent three seasons with Wednesday and won the club’s Player of the Season award in his final campaign, later proving a popular figure during spells at the likes of Aston Villa, Bradford, Middlesbrough and Derby.
Gianfranco Zola – 59 goals
The greatest Italian footballer in the history of the Premier League, Gianfranco Zola established himself as a Chelsea legend during a memorable seven season stay at Stamford Bridge.
Zola signed for the west London side from Parma in 1996 and quickly became one of the league’s most important imports, enjoying a stunning debut season to be named as the FWA Footballer of the Year despite only arriving in November.
The pint-sized forward brought an effortless elegance and flawless technique to English football, delighting crowds with a repertoire of fantastic finishes and fine free-kicks.
Zola was the stand-out star of a Chelsea side who enjoyed much success in cup competitions either side of the millennium, winning two FA Cups, a League Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup during his time with the Blues.
He made over 300 appearances in all competitions and scored 80 goals, whilst he was also twice named as the club’s Player of the Season and was deservedly inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Paulo Di Canio – 66 goals
It was difficult not to feel the presence of Paulo Di Canio during a colourful career in English football, the highest-scoring Italian in Premier League history mixing the sublime with the ridiculous.
From sensational stunners to shoving referees and fair play awards, Di Canio’s storied career made him a firm fans’ favourite of the Premier League era, not least at West Ham where he remains amongst the club’s most idolised modern day stars.
The fiery forward initially arrived at Sheffield Wednesday from Celtic and became an instant hit, his will to win and ability to produce moments of magic endearing him to the Hillsborough crowd.
His time with Wednesday saw an 11-game ban for shoving over referee Paul Alcock, before his most synonymous stint in the Claret and Blue of West Ham United. The Hammers’ fans fell in love with the extroverted nature of the passionate Di Canio, who scored 47 league goals in 118 appearances for the club.
Amongst them included that scissor-kick effort against Wimbledon, a strike many feel is the greatest scored in Premier League history.