Cagliari Calcio

Former Italian champions Cagliari will become the first team from Italy to participate at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens when the Serie A side take to the pitch at Hong Kong Football Club in May.

Cagliari, who are based on the island of Sardinia, won the second division title in 2016 to return to Italy’s top flight after bouncing back strongly from relegation the previous year.

The club’s finest hour came in 1970 when, having finished as runners-up a year earlier, Cagliari won Serie A for the first and only time. That team was captained by Italy’s all-time leading scorer Gigi Riva, who, after making more than 300 appearances and scoring over 160 goals for Cagliari, boasts such an iconic status on Sardinia that his number 11 jersey has been retired.

Other notable players to have appeared for Cagliari include former Chelsea playmaker Gianfranco Zola and ex-Uruguay internationals Enzo Francescoli and Daniel Fonseca.

Bruno Alves, a member of Porto’s team that won a historic UEFA Champions League in 2004 under Jose Mourinho, is part of a current crop of players that also includes Chile international Mauricio Isla and much-travelled frontman Marco Borriello.

Both midfielder Nicolo Barella and defender Nicola Murru, meanwhile, are products of the Cagliari academy and have represented Italy at various youth levels.