Things to Know:
Maldini is considered to have been one of the greatest defenders of all time, and has been described as “an icon and gentleman of the game”. He was known for his calm and composed manner on the pitch, as well as his ability to read the game, preferring elegance and intelligence to physicality and aggression when defending; regarded as a correct player, known for his discipline on the pitch, he only received three red cards throughout his entire career. In a 2002 FIFA poll, Maldini was selected as a defender in the FIFA World Cup Dream Team. Maldini was the first defender ever shortlisted for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, finishing second in 1995. He was also twice elected as a finalist for the Ballon d’Or, in 1994 and in 2003, where he finished third on both occasions. In addition to his team success, he also won several individual accolades and awards. He won the UEFA Defender of the year, the Serie A defender of the year, the Bravo Award and the World Soccer Player of the Year Award. He has also been elected as part of the UEFA Team of the Year, the FIFPro World XI, the World Cup Team of the Tournament and the European Championship Team of the Tournament during his career. Maldini was a symbol of his club and the Italian national football team. He was renowned for his consistency, versatility, work-rate, and longevity, breaking into the Milan starting lineup as a teenager and remaining there throughout his career until he retired at the age of 41. Throughout his career, Maldini was also considered to be a leader, both for Milan and for the Italian national team, earning the nickname “Il Capitano” (“The Captain”). He was renowned for his vocal, commanding presence on the pitch, and for his awareness, communication and organisational skills, helping to motivate his teammates and ensuring they remained in position. He played in over 1,000 professional matches during his 25 seasons at Milan, and is the record appearance holder in Serie A, and for Milan in all competitions. Maldini also appeared in a record eight UEFA Champions League Finals, and is the record appearance holder in all UEFA club competitions. With 126 caps during the 16 years he played for Italy, he was the record appearance holder for the national team, until he was overtaken by Fabio Cannavaro in 2009 and by Gianluigi Buffon in 2013. He also formerly held the record number of caps for Italy as captain, wearing the armband on 74 occasions, until being overtaken by Cannavaro. Maldini has inspired many defenders like Rafael Márquez and Carles Puyol. Paolo was son of Cesare who was also a footballer who also played as a defender, captained Milan, and represented the Italy national team, later going on to become a coach. Throughout Cesare’s managerial career, he coached his son both in the Italy under-21 side and the senior team, as well as at Milan, also managing several other teams.