Whilst Liam Brady is best remembered in England for his seven years at Arsenal in the 1970s, we're also including him in the 1980s playmakers list because of his time in Italy. As is often the case with the British media, once he'd left these islands it was almost as if he'd stopped playing football, as hardly anything was heard about him in the mainstream newspapers, but for those of us reading the likes of World Soccer and avidly following the European competitions and Serie A, we were well aware of how well he was doing over in Italy.
Brady's elegance on the ball in the hustle and bustle of the English game had made him stand out more than any other midfielder in the late 1970s, and he was on the radar of a number of Italian clubs as Serie A decided to open itself up once again to foreign signings at the end of the decade. Juventues scout Gigi Peronace was one of those who'd been impressed with the Irish midfielder's fantastic vision and passing range, and his performances against the Turin giants in the semi-finals of the 1979-80 UEFA Cup Winners Cup sealed his move to the club.
Brady was given the number ten shirt at Juventue and had two great years there, winning Serie A titles in both of the seasons he played for the club. There's no doubt that Brady's time in Turin was deemed as nothing but a success, however, the availability of another great playmaker was about to render him surplus to requirements. Michel Platini had impressed everone with his performances for Saint-Étienne and France, and the Juventus hierachy had decided tomake a move for him, as well as the Polish star Zbigniew Boniek. Serie A had increased its foreigh-player quota to two players per club, but this still meant there wasn't room for Brady, so despite his performances and a great relationship with the fans and team-mates, he was forced to transfer away from the club, ambitious Sampdoria clinching a deal for his signature along with that of Trevor Francis. After two seasons in Genoa, Brady transferred to another huge Italian club, Inter joining West German forward Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as the club's two foreign signings. He would complete his time in Italy with a year at Ascoli before heading back to England and finishing his career with a three-year spell at West Ham Utd.