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Farewell to a legend

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DavidClarkeThe official website of AC Milan has run a simple tribute to one of the best defenders I have had the good fortune to see in my lifetime. The message simply reads – 25 SEASONS. 900 GAMES. ALWAYS AND ONLY MILAN. GRAZIE PAOLO.

His is a career to savour. Aged 41 he wore the number 3 shirt for the last time at the weekend. He first pulled it on in 1985 25 seasons ago when aged 16 he made his debut in the Italian Serie A against Udinese.

He is the son of Cesare Maldini, a former European cup winner with Milan who captained the club and went on to manage Italy.

It is a phenomenal career to have played so long at the top – over 1,000 professional games for Milan and Italy, only Milan and Italy since the age of 10. He has won five European Cup medals and seven Serie A titles along the way probably a career record that will never be matched. Not even Real Madrid’s Raül can think about matching that.

He has done this at one of the world’s best clubs, the best left back for all that time. Amazing. He was skilful and powerful, a master of his art.

But the Maldini line and links with AC Milan are not yet broken. Milan plans to retire his number 3 shirt, but it will be bequeathed to one of his sons if one makes the club’s senior side. The third generation of Milan’s Maldini dynasty is Paolo’s 13 year old son Christian who plays for the Milan youth team.

We may yet get the chance to watch another Maldini grace the San Siro for years to come.

Here are two clips to watch, one of the great Paolo Maldini in action, and one of his youngest son Daniel dispossessing Clarence Seedorf at the Champions League celebrations in 2007.

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4 Comments so far
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Paolo Maldini is definitely one of Italy’s finest, and the entire world will miss his skill on the pitch. Now HE is a sportsman to be emulated by youth everywhere.

Comment by Theo the Cat

I had the good fortune to watch Maldini play last year.

Watching the game it became apparent that his greatest ability was not one that makes it into highlight videos or back-page photographs. Covering from the left back position, he routinely cut off an entire third of the pitch to counter-attacks through great positioning and strategic movement.

Before he was substituted on 70 minutes, Roma had FIVE 2v1 breaks! Every time the ball was either intercepted by ‘Il Capitano’ or played into the only bit of space not covered – where the goalkeeper collected it easily.

It began to look like Milan’s entire strategy was underpinned by Maldini’s position.

Thanks for the video finds David, I love the clip of his son’s slide tackling ability!

Comment by Paul Williams

Sounds like they played more like a youth soccer team! To have a miniature Maldini would help us all in 2v1s…

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