Maldini is arguably one of the best defenders of all time. The Milan-born defender who elevated the skill of defending in a piece of art, which almost made him perfect. He was an integral part of the AC Milan squad and won 5 Champions League titles with the club. As Paolo Maldini turns 52, we look back at the greatest feats of his career.
” I haven’t seen a more determined, loyal player than him. The best captain the Azzuri have ever had.”Francesco Totti
If we have to explain today, to a child, what it means to be loyal in football, then we would talk to him about this legend, Paolo Maldini. Not for what he won, which is still important for an overall assessment. It’s because Paolo represented the Italian football. He took that defensive style of play on a scale where very few reached. Generation wise, he was a Rossonero. His father served AC Milan & then he became one of the best parts of the history of that iconic AC Milan team.
He spent all his 24 seasons at AC Milan where he won the following :
- 7 Scudetto
- 5 UEFA Champions League
- 5 UEFA Super Cup
- 2 Intercontinental Cup
- 1 Club World Cup
- 1 Coppa Italia
Paolo Maldini turns Defending from Dirty Work to a Piece of Art
Along with the record of the most AC Milan appearances, but He also has the all-time most appearances in European competitions and the most minutes ever played at the World Cup. On the International front, Maldini has played in four World Cups but unfortunately, he never managed to lift a major trophy with Azzurri. He has countless other accolades, trophies and personal records!
Having come through the Rossonero youth team, he made his senior team debut at 16 in the 1984-85 season. The main thing was his defending partners. There were Tassotti, Baresi & Costacurta. These names can still make any striker quake in their boots. He got the chance to play alongside them at such a young age. That showed his talent. He was an important member of that Arrigo Sacchi‘s dream Milan.
At the end of the 1996/97 season when the great Franco Baresi announced his retirement then Paolo picked up the arm-band and ensured that the trophy-winning standards didn’t drop at San Siro.
He played as a left-back most of his career. Though Maldini was right-footed, Arrigo Sacchi switched his position as a left-back because of Mauro Tosatti. He was comfortable on that left side. As a left-back, he was renowned for his technical abilities, fast energetic forward runs, covering, sliding tackles. It was almost impossible for any attacker or winger to beat him 1:1 on his peak days.
In his final years of career he shifted as a centre-back due to lack of pace, stamina. But as a centre-back, he was also brilliant. He was known for his marking, anticipate the ball very quickly, superb in aerial duels.
Paolo was famous for averaging 0.5 tackles per game. That’s 19 tackles per season. How can someone be so perfect?
An example of honesty of constant work. It was that footballer who knew how to bury the presumptions of ” Who He is the son of….”. He did earn his position in that team.
Ronaldo Luís Nazário aka El Fenomeno once said, ” Paolo Maldini is the best I’ve played against. “
Happy Birthday to one of greatest defenders ever to play this beautiful game!
Do you believe Maldini is the greatest defender of all time? Let us know in the comment section below.