Antognoni is regarded as one of the best Italian players of his generation, and as one of the best Italian advanced midfieldplaymakers of all time, due to his vision, control, technical ability, and accurate passing range. He was also a fast and elegant player when dribbling with the ball, and he was capable of passing or striking the ball accurately with both feet and from set pieces.
He made his debut in Italian Serie A in October 1972 with Fiorentina, whom he later captained, also eventually inheriting the number 10 shirt. He won the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) during the 1974–75 season, as well as the 1975 Anglo-Italian League Cup that season, over West Ham. He narrowly missed out on the Serie A title with Fiorentina during the 1981–82 season, losing out to rivals Juventus by a single point on the final match-day. Antognoni played 412 games with Fiorentina and scored 61 goals. Antognoni is regarded as a Fiorentina legend, and as one of the club's best ever players, as he played for the club throughout his entire Italian professional career between the 70s and 80s. He holds the record for the most appearances in Serie A for Fiorentina, with 341 appearances.
In 1987, Antognoni joined Lausanne Sports. He made 51 appearances and scored 7 goals. He retired in 1989 while at Lausanne.
Antognoni's senior international career with Italy started on the 20th November 1974, in a 3–1 away loss to the The Netherlands at the age of twenty, in a Euro 1976 qualifying match. Antognoni took part in the 1978 World Cup with Italy, where the team finished in fourth place after a semi-final defeat to the Netherlands. He also reached another fourth place finish at the 1980 European Championship on home soil. His greatest achievement with the national team came when he won the 1982 FIFA World Cup, however. Antognoni made six appearances throughout the tournament, including the semi-final match against Poland, but he was not able to participate in the final due to an injury sustained in the semi-final.
In total, he received 73 caps for Italy, scoring 7 goals. His last appearance came against Czechoslovakia, on the 16th November 1983. He captained of the national team on four occasions. Antognoni is currently the Fiorentina player with the most appearances for the national side.