Paolo Maldini (June 26, 1968, Milan) is an Italian football
player. Maldini is a defender and, despite being naturally right-footed,
predominantly plays the position of left back, although he
sometimes plays at centre back. Throughout his long career, he
has remained a one club man with A.C. Milan.
One of the great defenders of all time, he was arguably the best
defender of his time at the peak of his career, and remains well
known for influential captaincy, ice-cool temperament and
flawless defending. He is still playing at the very highest
level, which is confirmed by inclusion to FIFPro World XI in
2005, nomination to the UEFA Champions League 2004-2005 most
valuable defender title, second place in Golden Foot nominations
in 2005, and a top-ten finish in the voting for the 2005 FIFA
World Player of the Year.
Maldini's Serie A debut came on January 20,1985 against Udinese.
He has had a glittering career to date, winning many trophies
with Milan (as of 2005, those include seven Serie A titles and
four European Cups).
Maldini is Italy's most capped player. However, he never managed
to win a trophy at the international level despite playing in
the 1994 World Cup final and the 2000 European Championship
Final. He retired from the national team after 2002 World Cup
finishing his successful career with 126 caps and 7 goals.
Maldini also played in the 1990 and 1998 World Cups, Euro 88,
and Euro 96.
Maldini also set two new records in the 2005 UEFA Champions
League Final by scoring after only 51 seconds against Liverpool
F.C. in Istanbul and also by being the oldest to score in a
Champions League Final.
There was a public appeal in Italy for Maldini to come out of
retirement for the 2004 European Championship, but he rejected
the appeal for "personal reasons". Paolo's father, Cesare, also
captained A.C. Milan in the 1960s, lifting the European Cup in
Maldini recently broke Dino Zoff's Serie A appearance record,
making his 571st appearance against Treviso F.B.C.. He also
recently played his 800th game in all competitions for Milan. In
November 2005, he announced plans to retire from playing
professional football at the end of the 2006/07 season.
Maldini has two sons, Christian and Daniel Maldini. Christian
has signed for Milan's youth team at the age of 9 and is set to
continue the Maldini dynasty.