Thursday, December 29, 2011

Paolo Maldini

Paolo Cesare Maldini (born 26 June 1968) is an Italian former footballer who played as a left or central defender, being adept with either foot although naturally right footed. He spent all 25 seasons of his career at Serie A club Milan, before retiring at the age of 41 in 2009, becoming a symbol and a legend of the club. During that period, he won the Champions League five times, as well as seven Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, five Supercoppa Italiana, five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups. He played for 14 years for the Italian national team, making his debut in 1988 before retiring in 2002 with 126 caps and four World Cup participations.

Maldini played at a world class level for his entire career spanning 2 and a half decades, and won the Best Defender trophy at the UEFA Club Football Awards at the age of 39. He came second to George Weah for the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 1995, the closest a defender had ever reached to winning the award at the time. He was also the Milan and Italy captain for many years and was considered a leader amongst leaders by fellow footballers, leading to the nickname "Il Capitano" (the Captain). Paolo's father Cesare formerly played for and captained Milan, and is a successful national U-21 manager.

Personal life
Maldini has been married to Venezuelan former model Adriana Fossa since 1994. The couple have two sons, Christian (born 14 June 1996) and Daniel (born 11 October 2001), who both have already been signed by Maldini's former club Milan and currently play in the youth teams.

In 2003, he lifted the European Cup/Champions League as club captain exactly 40 years after his father Cesare accomplished the same feat for the same side. The only other father-son pairs to have done so are Manuel Sanchis Martínez and Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo (won it with Real Madrid) and Carles and Sergio Busquets of FC Barcelona.

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