A True Gentleman in every sense of the word. (1 Viewer)

Dec 27, 2003
1,982
#21
To me, the spiritual Capitano of Milan has always been the one and only Franco Baresi.

Indeed, there was a man who lost both his parents while he was still a child (which earned him the nickname of "campione triste"), was rejected by Inter at 17 in favour of his older brother Giuseppe because he was considered as "too small and too frail" (Inter's talent scouting abilities where thus already apparent in those years ;)), and who despite being already labelled as the next Beckenbauer at 20 refused to give in to the lure of the other serie A giants during the infamous years of Milan's exile to the serie B. But most importantly, he was a natural born leader, one everybody in the team respected, so much that he became our captain at the age of 20, right after Rivera's retirement.

By contrast, Maldini had the advantage of being the offspring of a Milanese legend from the 60's (his father Cesare). Sure, his qualities were immediately for all to see as he arrived at Milanello aged only 15, but it is fair to say that he would not have emerged so quickly without his family's reputation. Also, while Baresi's granitic face bears the signs of the courageous and humble soldier who has been relentlessly fighting for the cause, Maldini still looks like a Hollywood actor 20 years on. In a nutshell, he's had everything on his side from the start : a famous last name, plenty of talent, and good looks. It's just not fair:groan:.

Now, before you accuse me of being bitter, I will point out the 2 sectors where Lord Paolo has really earned my utmost respect, and which elevate him from the status of "Milan legend" to the restricted cicrle of "Milan greatest" :

1) his leadership qualities
2) his longevity

1) Unlike Baresi, Maldini was not a born leader. Quite the opposite in fact. In the first part of his career, he was this gentle and somewhat shy young man who seemed wary of one day having to inherit the captain armband from Kaiser Franco. When the latter retired in 96, Maldini was already a mature player, but somehow I thought he still did not have the necessary qualities to take over. Well, he surely proved me wrong. Maldini has been able to acquire those qualities and, 9 years on, he is to today's great Milan exactly what Baresi was to that invincible team in the 90's : the man everybody respects and looks up to, from the primavera player to the team's star striker.

2) The fact that Maldini started playing at the top level at such a young age led many (including myself) to believe that his star would decline earlier too. His being an attacking left-back only strenghtened my sensation, as those kind of players tend to feel the effect of time and age more than others (witness Juve's Cabrini, who was the best in that position at 23/24 but was finished by the age of 30). Once again, I was forced to reconsider. No longer able to afford his deadly runs on the flank as he used to, Maldini has managed to recycle as a top central defender, and at the age of 36 (soon 37), he quite simply remains one of the best in his role.

Now, playing for the World's most successful team of the past 20 years surely helps, but the fact remains that players like Maldini - players who are born in their club's city and have worn its colours from the youth team to retirement - are almost extinct. I don't know if Maldini should have his number 3 withdrawn from Milan's kits when he quits - as happened with Baresi's legendary number 6 - but we better savour this man while he still plays, because chances are that we won't see another such figure in our lifetimes.
 

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Desmond

Senior Member
Jul 12, 2002
8,938
#22
You mention Paolo having a famous father as an advantage,but i see it otherwise.Sure,it sets the stage for him, but the pressure is immense and like you mentioned he got his chance at such a tender age, we all know what hype and media attention does to players at that age.

Thank goodness he came good,I consider it my good fortune to have witnessed such a legend playing footbal of the highest quality at the highest level.People say players peak at 30 years of age,but Paolo's peak seems to span his entire career.Legendary.
 

#10

Senior Member
Jul 28, 2002
7,148
#23
As the title goes a true gentleman, leader and amazing player....imo he should have won more awards for his achievments.

If i was Milans boards, the moment he retires, so should his shirt number which he has ownd for a long long time.
 

baggio

Senior Member
Jun 3, 2003
19,250
#24
Paolo, simply represents elegance and masterclass. Sure, Baresi has come up the hard way. But being the son of a legend carries with it a certain weight that could easily have undone a young Maldini. And besides, isnt it just so much easier to stray when the good life comes easy? Despite all the distractions, he's been at it, for 20 years mind you. Its simply a remarkable feat. And to me - the mark of a player, you see once in a lifetime.

Forza Maglie # 3.
 

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,259
#27
One of the few players whom fans of all clubs and countries have nothing but respect for :touched:

His number should be retired without question; if not Maldini's #3, whose shirt is worthy of honouring in such a way?

Respect :thumb:
 

Rami

The Linuxologist
Dec 24, 2004
8,065
#28
++ [ originally posted by gray ] ++
One of the few players whom fans of all clubs and countries have nothing but respect for :touched:

His number should be retired without question; if not Maldini's #3, whose shirt is worthy of honouring in such a way?

Respect :thumb:
Didnt FIFA make in issue out of retiring marradona's number in argentina?? what happened to that?
 

Gandalf

Senior Member
Jul 28, 2003
2,038
#29
the greatest who played on the left flank...

respect for the Italian Legend..

++ [ originally posted by Zambrotta19 ] ++
Didnt FIFA make in issue out of retiring marradona's number in argentina?? what happened to that?
AFAIK, they have rejected Argentina's decision to retire Maradonna's number.. in FIFA's competitions, NT's should fill all the numbers from 1 to 22.. with no exceptions.. I guess
 
Dec 27, 2003
1,982
#30
++ [ originally posted by Desmond ] ++
You mention Paolo having a famous father as an advantage,but i see it otherwise.Sure,it sets the stage for him, but the pressure is immense and like you mentioned he got his chance at such a tender age, we all know what hype and media attention does to players at that age.
Honestly I think having an already famous father is generally an advantage in football and in most collective sports, as opposed to individual sports. Indeed, while your experienced father will teach you some very useful things on how to best progress in your career, the pressure you must endure is minimal. The fans and the medias will recognize your name, but it's not as if they will base all their expectations on you for seeing the team succeed, because after all there are 10 other players on the pitch who are sharing that responsibility.

That's why "sons of" abound in football, from the legendary Valentino Mazzola and his world class son Sandro in the 60's or Cudicini Sr and Jr to the late Niccolò Galli, the very promising 17 year old son of ex-Milan keeper Giovanni Galli, who died in a motorcycle accident last year. This doesn't stop at father-son family ties btw (see the Inzaghi bros, the M'penza's, the Zenoni's, Socrates and Rai, the Charlton's, the Borel's etc)
 
Dec 27, 2003
1,982
#31
++ [ originally posted by gray ] ++


His number should be retired without question; if not Maldini's #3, whose shirt is worthy of honouring in such a way?
Probably no one, though I remain of the opinion that Baresi deserved it even more.

Unfortunately in today's football the numbers don't have the same meaning as they used to. When Baresi's legendary Nr 6 was withdrawn, it really meant something. Number 6 was the appointed shirt number for the libero (like 9 was that of the centre-forward, 10 for the playmaker, 11 for the support striker, 7 for the winger, 4 for the defensive mid etc) and by withdrawing it Milan made it clear that there would never be such a great libero again (bar my great self).
 

Nicole

Senior Member
Sep 16, 2004
7,561
#32
He is a :star: there is no-one as good as Maldini at what he does, he is the best defender ever. And even at 36, he is still such a good player, could still play for Italy!
 
Dec 27, 2003
1,982
#33
Best defender ever? Please, let's put things into perspective here.

He is the best of his generation : on that there is no doubt. But Baresi or Scirea have marked their eras just as much as Maldini has. And what of Facchetti or Bobby Moore? But one small step higher than all of them them stands Franz Beckenbauer.
 

Nicole

Senior Member
Sep 16, 2004
7,561
#34
Name me a better left-back ever? There is only one I can think of and some of you may think I am biased, but Dennis Irwin, played for United for 12 years, and has over 100 caps for Ireland, isnt as great as Maldini but he is a great player without doubt!

As for Maldini, name me a player who has consistently been great for 20 years? And with some people saying that being the son of Cesare makes it easier? Thats rubbish, how many sons of great players havent quite done it because of the pressure and expectation? Jordi Cryuff? Maradona's son? There is an undenable fact that sons of great players have it harder!
 

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,259
#35
Haha I love this place... a Roma fan trying to convince a disagreeable Milanista that Maldini was the greatest
 

Nicole

Senior Member
Sep 16, 2004
7,561
#36
I know, this place is completely crazy! But when it comes to Maldini it doesnt matter who I support, to deny that he was the best is just a foolish thing, its like you lot saying Totti isnt great, its completely stupid!
 
Dec 27, 2003
1,982
#37
Spare me your "foolish" and "stupid", beefette, and re-read my previous posts : you might learn a thing or two...about a thing or two.

First flaw in your attempt to argue me : you go from claiming Maldini is the best defender ever to saying he's only the best left-back ever. So which is it?

A player who has been as consistent as Maldini?

Giacinto Facchetti. Two decades with Inter. Won everything with them. Captained Italy to their European champion title in in 68 and WC final in 1970. For long the most capped player with the azzurri (nearly 100 games), in an era where they played a lot less games than today.

See also : Bobby Moore, Gaetano Scirea.

A more consistent player?

Franco Baresi. 18 years with Milan. Named captain at 20 for his innate qualities as a leader, succeeding the living God that was Rivera, no less, and in a team that had no proper plan for the future (witness its subsequent relegation). World Champion in 82, accepts to play in serie B the next season, despite half the serie A courting him like the camorra would court Cassano. Came second twice and third once in the Golden Ball Award, not winning it only because Van Basten was busy giving a new definition to the word "centre-forward". By contrast, Maldini became captain at 28 in the Milan of the Invincibles, relying on the support of monuments such as Tassotti and Costacurta and having had all the time he needed to grow up in the shade of Baresi.

See also : Franz Beckenbauer.

The sons of famous players : Jordi Cruyff didn't deliver because he's average, plain and simple. Dieguito's son is still young, so we'll have to wait and see. I observe though that you avoided to comment on Sandro Mazzola - maybe you never heard of him? He was Italy's best player of the 60's with Rivera, and has stated repeatedly how he would not have achieved half of what he achieved had he not been the son of Torino's legend Valentino Mazzola. Maldini will tell you the same thing about his father Cesare. Same goes for Cudicini, or - just one example among many - Buffon, whose family has a long tradition in professional sports and who was therefore immersed into it a very young age.
 

Nicole

Senior Member
Sep 16, 2004
7,561
#38
Most of the players you name played long ago, I understand and know that Franco Baresi is a Milan legend and I dont dispute it, I can only comment on players I have seen, so I cant comment about them, but I have seen Maldini and I say he is the greatest on my own opinions, I dont read that people like Baresi was the greatest and immediately think that also because I havent seen him myself.

See also: Roy Keane
 

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