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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Maldini Marches On

Tomorrow, during the Milan derby, Paolo Maldini will make his 600th appearance in the Serie A. It will be his 52nd derby against city rivals, Inter Milan. Every single one of his Serie A games has been in the same red and black shirt. In an era of no loyalty, and athletes who jump teams like a virus, Paolo Maldini is an example from different times.

He gave a brief interview to La Stampa of Torino:

“Now that my knees seem to be working again, I’d like to carry on for another season. It would have to be center stage, though.”

Another season... He began his storied career in 1985. His father, Cesare, was a former AC Milan legend. At the National Team level, they would be united for two years. Cesare coached him briefly at AC Milan. The father and his son, the captain of the Azzurri, Paolo. When he ultimately retires, his number, 3, will only be worn again if one of his sons continues the family tradition. Presently, it appears to be a distinct possibility. His oldest son, Christian (pictured above), entered the AC Milan youth academy last year.

Maldini has been a model professional, and rumors of his retirement began two years ago. He has more international appearances (126) than any other Italian. He has a clothing line with his friend, Christian "Bobo" Vieri. He has not mentioned any coaching ambitions; however, it would be difficult to imagine him not a part of AC Milan or Italian Calcio. For many, he is torch bearer of Italian soccer.

In Milan, there are three constants: La Scala, Il Duomo, and Paolo Maldini.


In the derby on Sunday, which was won by Inter, 2 to 1, Paolo suffered an injury to his knee. He could be out of action for six weeks, and may require surgery. Ronaldo of AC Milan scored a goal against his former team. Amidst many insulting banners, along with 30,000 whistles handed out to annouce his every touch of the ball. He celebrated the goal by cupping his hands to his ears.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a player Paolo Maldini has been. I look forward to when a third generation Maldini will be wearing the Milan shirt. But we've been fortunate the last 15 years or so to have as active players who I think are the two best left backs of all time: Paolo Maldini and Roberto Carlos. Two very different sorts of fullbacks but each in their own way extremely successful. Sure Nilton Santos and Giacinto Faccheti were great players at the position too and I'll admit a bit of bias as I only really saw them play on tapes but I have had the pleasure of watching both Maldini and Roberto Carlos play over the years and for me there have been no finer players at the position than those two. They were able to dominate their side of the field like no other players before them. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to watch them both play, many times on television of course, but also a few prized occasions in person.

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