Things to Know:
Albertini was a complete, experienced and composed midfielder, who was gifted with stamina, power, technique, and class, which allowed him to be regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation. His key strengths as a player were his mentality, his excellent vision, tactical knowledge and ball control, but above all, his brilliant passing range, which made him a key member of the Milan and the Italian national sides of the 90s and early 2000s; he was also known for his powerful shots from distance. Few players were able to replicate Albertini’s long passing and powerful distance shooting adeptness, and many have likened his abilities to those of Ronald Koeman. Albertini was also an accurate penalty kick and set piece taker, who could curl the ball well, but also kick with power, and was known for often striking the ball without a run-up during dead ball situations. Although he was fundamentally a hardworking, intelligent, and creative central midfielder or deep-lying playmaker with excellent technical ability, he was able to complete himself tactically and improve upon the defensive and offensive aspect of his game play throughout his career, demonstrating his adeptness as a ball-winner; his wide range of skills allowed him to play in several midfield positions, including on the wing, due to his crossing ability. In the Milan side and Italy side, he was seen as the heir to Carlo Ancelotti, and later also as the predecessor to Andrea Pirlo as the pivot of the teams’ midfield, due to his ability to control the game in midfield and set the tempo of his team’s play, and was often regarded as the “creative brain” and “metronome” of his teams. Many football experts draw parallels between Albertini and Pirlo, the midfield ace of European and world football, who emerged as his heir in Italian football, both for Milan and for the Italian national side. Like Albertini, Pirlo is a deep-lying playmaker who also possesses excellent technique, ball skills, vision and passing range, and who is also a set-piece specialist and a goal threat from distance. In addition his footballing skills, Albertini was also known for his correct behaviour on the pitch, and was seen as a symbol and leader for both his club and national sides.