Clubs: AC Pistoiese, Piacenza FC, Ascoli Calcio 1898 (loan), AC Chievo Verona, US Città di Palermo, VfL Wolfsburg, Juventus
• A native of Tuscany, he made his Serie A debut for AC Chievo Verona in August 2003 after several seasons in Italy's lower leagues; moved to US Città di Palermo a year later.
• Won 15 Under-21 caps for Italy and was a European champion at that level in 2004; he also won an Olympic bronze medal a few months later in Athens.
• Chosen for Italy's 2006 FIFA World Cup squad despite playing just six minutes in qualifying, he appeared twice at the finals in Germany − including the full 90 minutes of the quarter-final against Ukraine, replacing the suspended Marco Materazzi; dropped after the opening 3-0 defeat by Netherlands at UEFA EURO 2008.
• Served Palermo diligently for four seasons, amassing 142 Serie A appearances and playing in three UEFA Cup campaigns before moving to Wolfsburg and winning the German title in his debut campaign, starting all 34 matches for Felix Magath's side.
• Made his UEFA Champions League debut in 2009/10 but as Wolfsburg struggled the following season he returned to Italy mid-campaign, joining Juventus; recalled by the Azzurri in October 2011 after a three-year absence for UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers against Serbia and Northern Ireland.
• Made 34 appearances as Juventus won their 28th Serie A title with the best defence in the league and helped his side reach the final of the Coppa Italia; made four appearances in Poland and Ukraine as Italy finished as runners-up to Spain at UEFA EURO 2012.
• Played in nine of Juve's ten UEFA Champions League games as they progressed to the quarter-finals of the 2012/13 competition, only to be defeated by eventual winners FC Bayern München, and was once again instrumental in helping his club claim successive Scudettos.
UEFA European Championship: runner-up 2012
UEFA European Under-21 Championship: winner 2004
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