Paolo Maldini is an ex-footballer from Italy who spent his entire career with A.C. Milan. The Italian icon is largely regarded as being one of the greatest football players in the world. Maldini is among the most well-known football players of all time. He played for A.C. Milan for his entire 25-year career, until he was 40 years old. He won seven Serie A titles, five UEFA Champions League Cups, one Coppa Italia, five Supercopa Italiana, five UEFA Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, and one FIFA Club World Cup throughout that period. His electric speed, ability to perform precise tackles, game reading, and powerful governance and impact on and off the field were his main strengths as a player. Cesare Maldini, a former player and Milan captain as well as a successful national U-21 coach, is his father. Paolo Maldini spent 14 years with the Italian national team, making his debut in 1988 and retiring in 2002 with 126 caps and 7 goals.
Maldini made his league debut in the 1984-85 season on 20 January 1985, at the age of 16. With a career studded with trophies and accolades, here we take a look at some unknown facts about him:
1) The team's defensive line, which included long-serving teammates Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, and Mauro Tassotti, is widely regarded as one of Italy's greatest.
2) Paolo Maldini became the first defender ever to win World Soccer magazine’s annual World Player of the Year Award.
3) Paolo Maldini surpassed Dino Zoff's Serie A appearance records on September 25, 2005, when he played his 571st league game against Treviso; seven days ago, he had played his 800th game for Milan in all tournaments.
4) Paolo Maldini also featured in eight UEFA Champions League finals throughout his tenure, more than any other active player and equaling Francisco Gento's total, though Gento also played in a Cup Winners Cup final, taking his total European final appearances to nine.
5) The fastest goal scored in the Champions League final is 52 seconds by Paolo against Liverpool on 25 May 2005.
6) AC Milan retired the number 3 shirt, after Paolo Maldini retired from the club.
7) Maldini holds the record for the most World Cup Finals minutes played with 2,217.
8) Maldini is known as "Il Capitano"
9) In 1989 Paolo Maldini received the Bravo Award as the best under-23 player in European Competitions.