Few players spend their entire careers at one club. Even fewer do it at one of the world's biggest clubs. Only Paolo Maldini managed it for 24 years of world class Football.
So to call Maldini an AC Milan legend is almost an understatement.
The Italian came to define what the ultimate defender was all about – athleticism, power, positional sense and a masterly ability to read a game.
Maldini spent most of his career as a left back – despite being right-footed – before moving into the centre of defence as the years took their toll on his pace.
But all those years were certainly worth the discipline and sacrifice. Seven Serie A titles, five Champions League winners medals, five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and 126 Italian caps (including appearances at four World Cups) is a haul that illustrates his talent as much as his longevity.
With more than 1,000 appearances for club and country, Maldini retired, aged 41, still at the top of his game. His career is unlikely to be matched any time soon – if ever.
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