Paolo Maldini was born to defend, of that there can be no doubt.
Sadly, the business of being a defender can often be one of the game’s most thankless jobs.
Football’s rearguard warriors simply don’t get the credit they deserve, especially when it comes to the biggest individual awards in the game.
The simple fact of the matter, however, is that when defending is done right, it is nothing short of an art form.
Today, one of that medium’s greatest heroes celebrates his birthday and we felt we just has to send a reminder to the world of just how good Maldini was.
The Italian statesman, who spent many a year pulverising opposition attacks into submission, was a true revolutionary of defending.
He was very rarely ever flustered, he read the game like he had seen it before and could tackle like no man ever before him.
It’s no wonder that he spent so long at the top of the game, marshalling countless Italian and AC MIlan backlines.
Maldini was a bona-fide, no-nonsense captain who lead with distinction even in the most trying of cirumstances.
His impeccable managing of Genaro Gattuso, who was typically losing his rag in a clash with Juventus, showed just how much respect he commanded.
So, on the occasion of his 54th birthday, we thought it would only be right to remember some of his finest moments with some footage of him pulling off some quite ridiculous tackles.
We could sit here and write sweet melodies about Maldini’s ability, but we thought it might be best to let the clips do the talking.
Check it out below:
Brilliant – the man really was something else.
Fortunately, Maldini’s special talent bore plenty of fruit over the course of his career as he would go on to lift five European Cups4
He would also win no less than seven Serie A titles over the course of his distinguished 899-game career for his beloved Milan.
In short, there can be no doubting that Maldini is one of the greatest defenders to have have ever snuffed out an attack and his impeccable career will live long in the memory of fans from across the globe.
So do join us in raising a glass to the true Italian godfather of defending. Happy birthday, Paolo.