So far the player profiles have been quite attacking. The current “Player profile 11” (something that will come after we’ve got a few more players involved) would have a front 3 of Tony Yeboah, Nwankwo Kanu and Dennis Bergkamp with Zinedine Zidane playing just behind them. So let’s give that lot a defender to play against in training. If I’m being honest I might even back this guy to keep that front 4 quiet on his own. A defensive titan; Paolo Maldini.
Name: Paolo Cesare Maldini
Date of Birth: 26th June 1968
International Caps/Goals: 126/7
Born in Milan in 1968, he was always likely to be a talent. Paolo Maldini’s father, Cesare, captained AC Milan to a European cup victory in 1963 and played over 300 times for the Rossoneri. But surely when AC signed Paolo into their youth system in 1978 they were probably hoping he’d turn out to be half the player his father was. What they got was much, much better. 7 years later aged just 16 Maldini made his debut and never looked back. In a 24 year career he played 902 times for the boys on the Red and black side of San Siro scoring the 33 goals but that’s not his job so I’m never ever holding that against him. This guy is the ultimate one club man, and my god what a successful one club man.
Under Arrigo Sacchi Milan were able to win back to back European cups as well as the Serie A title in 1987-88, a UEFA Super cup, a World club cup and an Italian Supercoppa. So by the time Maldini was 22 he had already won 6 trophies. His career went from strength to strength. The AC Milan side of the early 1990s was outrageously good, the 1991-92 season saw a defence that included Maldini, Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta with the attacking options of Marco Van Basten (before the injury problems), Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard. They won the league unbeaten, and I’m sure you’re all shocked to learn that. Over the next few years the Serie A trophy and the Supercoppa were continually won by AC. In 1994 Milan were champions of Europe again. This sort of success never seemed to end.
Maldini ended his career with 26 winner’s medals, including 5 European cups. To put that into perspective only Real Madrid and AC Milan have won the competition more time than Maldini. This means that if he were a club he’d be tied with Liverpool as the 3rd most successful team in the competitions history.
This success is no coincidence and it is inarguable that Paolo Maldini was crucial to that, he played approximately 40 games a year, every year for 25 years. He was a fantastic defender who always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. When watching him play it was a major surprise if he was ever found out of position, and if he was the recovering tackle would inevitably be fantastically timed.
Following his retirement in 2009 Maldini has become a model, as if being an incredibly talented footballer wasn’t enough he also has to look like this:
So there we have it, the Player Profile 11 has got a defender. What a guy to have; and maybe, if this website runs for long enough I might end up writing a profile for his son. Who can already do stuff like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFPpT-iqivM
So maybe the name Maldini will be playing for AC Milan again?