I Love Azzurri

Poll

How was Italy achievement at Euro 2012
 

Paolo Maldini

(3 votes)
Full Name : Paolo Maldini
Date Of Birth: June 26, 1968
Place of Birth: Milan, Italy
Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Position: Centre back, Left back
National Career: 1988-2002
Caps: 126 (7)

Paolo Maldini (born June 26, 1968 in Milan) is an Italian footballer who plays for Serie A club A.C. Milan. The son of Cesare Maldini, he has spent his entire career with Milan, and is the most-capped player in both the history of the club and Serie A. He was named among Pelé's top 125 living footballers in 2004.
Maldini predominantly plays as a centre back although he sometimes plays at left back, which is his original position.

Club Career

Maldini made his league debut on January 20, 1985, at the age of sixteen, against Udinese Calcio as a halftime substitution for Sergio Battistini. It would be his only league appearance of the campaign, but he was in the starting eleven the following season.
The 1987–88 Scudetto marked Maldini's first major trophy, and the first of seven league titles, with the club. He was also part of AC Milan's undefeated "Dream Team" from the late 1980s to the early 1990s.
In addition to winning his third Champions League and reaching the 1994 FIFA World Cup final, Maldini became the first defender ever to win World Soccer magazine's annual World Player of the Year Award. During his acceptance speech, Maldini called his milestone "a particular matter of pride because defenders generally receive so much less attention from fans and the media than goalscorers. We are more in the engine room rather than taking the glory." He then singled out Milan captain Franco Baresi as a player who "really [deserved] to receive the sort of award I have received."
Maldini played his 600th Serie A match (not including playoff matches) on May 13, 2007, in a 1-1 draw at Calcio Catania. On September 25, 2005, Maldini broke Dino Zoff's Serie A appearance record after playing his 571st league match against Treviso F.B.C.; seven days earlier, he had played his 800th game in all competitions for Milan.
Maldini has participated in eight UEFA Champions League finals during the course of his career, which is more than any other active player and near by one to a record held by Francisco Gento. He has lifted the championship trophy five times, the latest coming in Milan's 2-1 victory over Liverpool F.C. in the 2007 CL final on May 23. In an interview with ESPN that aired prior to the broadcast of the 2007 final, he labeled the 2005 final, which Milan lost on penalties to Liverpool in extra time after blowing a 3-0 lead, the worst moment of his career, even though he had scored the fastest-ever goal in a European Clubs' Cup final just 51 seconds into the match, in the process also becoming the oldest player ever to score in a final.
In November 2005, he announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2006-07 season, but relented and decided to stay on for one more year, making his impending retirement effective at the end of the '07-08 campaign. Milan plan to retire his number 3 shirt, but it will be bequeathed to one of his sons if he makes the club's senior side. His eldest son, Christian, is 12 years old and is currently playing for the Milan youth squad.

International Career

Maldini is Italy's most capped player with 126 appearances, and all seven of his career international goals were scored in home matches. However, he never won a major title with the Azzurri during his long tenure, and following his retirement from the national team after the 2002 World Cup at the age of 34, he turned down Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni's request to return for the 2006 competition.

Trivia

Maldini is one of three active Milan players who have earned the most caps for their national teams; the others are Cafu and Dario Šimić.
The letters of his last name can be arranged to spell the words Di Milan ("of Milan"). Maldini is a Milan native.

Honours

Club
A.C. Milan
Serai A: 1987-88, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1998-99, 2003-2004 (7 Titles)
Coppa Italia: 2003
Italian Super Cup: 1988, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2005 (5 Titles)
UEFA Championships League: 1988-89, 1992-93, 1993-94, 2002-03, 2006-07 (5 Titles)
European Super Cup: 1989, 1990, 1994, 2004, 2007 (5 Titles)
International Cup: 1989, 1990 (2 Titles)
Club World Cup: 2007
Italy National Team
FIFA World Cup
Runner-up: 1994
UEFA European championship
Runner-up: 2000
Individual
FIFA 100 (125 greatest living players, as selected by Pelé): 2004

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