Regarded by many as one of the greatest ever defenders and one of the greatest players of all time, the Italian is a defender with no competition in the defensive aspect of the game. Paolo Maldini, dubbed the captain for his leadership skills on and off the pitch, played as a left back and as a central defender towards the end of his career for Milan.
Ever since he broke into the Milan starting line-up as a teenager, he remained there throughout his career until he retired at the age of 41, after which his number 3 shirt was retired by the club. Maldini spent his entire football career with the Rossoneri.
He was an excellent crosser of the ball and was known for his calm and composed manner on the pitch as well as his ability to read games, preferring elegance and intelligence to physicality and aggression when defending. He received three red cards throughout his 25 years of playing.
In addition to his relative effectiveness, many great players like De Lima Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, among others, showered praise on the Italian for his defending prowess. De Lima claimed that Maldini was the best defender he had ever faced over the course of his career and that he deserved to win the World Player of the Year award several times. He was also a symbol of his club and country and has inspired many defenders like Rio Ferdinand, Rafael Marquez, and Carlos Puyol, to name a few.
Some may argue that his compatriot, Fabio Cannavaro is the only defender to win the World player of the year award and Virgil Van Dijk is the only defender to win the UEFA Best Player award. However, he came second in 1995 FIFA Best Player award and third twice in the Ballon d’Or in 1994 and 2003 respectively, because defenders were not recognized at that time. He nonetheless won the Best Defender trophy at the UEFA Club Football Awards at the age of 39.
Thus, taking into account his consistency at a world-class level for his entire career spanning two-and-a-half decades, there's no denying the fact that Paolo Maldini is the best ever defender with no rivalry in the world of football.
Content created and supplied by: Yekrash01 (via Opera News )