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Paolo Maldini

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Paolo Maldini

Paolo Maldini
Maldini in 2008
Personal information
Full name Paolo Cesare Maldini
Date of birth (1968-06-26) 26 June 1968
Place of birth Milan, Italy
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1978–1985 Milan
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–2009 Milan 647 (29)
National team
1986–1988 Italy U21 12 (5)
1988–2002 Italy 126 (7)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Paolo Cesare Maldini (born 26 June 1968) is an Italian former footballer who played as a left back or central defender for A.C. Milan and Italy national team. He spent all 25 seasons of his career at Serie A club A.C. Milan, before retiring at the age of 41 in 2009. He won 26 trophies with Milan: the Champions League five times, seven Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, five Supercoppa Italiana, five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, and one FIFA Club World Cup.[2]

He made his debut for Italy in 1988 before retiring in 2002 with 126 caps, a record which was only bettered by Fabio Cannavaro in 2009, and Gianluigi Buffon in 2013. Maldini captained Italy for 8 years, and held the record for appearances made as Italy's captain, wearing the armband 74 times, until he was once again overtaken by Cannavaro, in 2010.[3] With Italy, Maldini took part in three European Championships, and four World Cups. Although he did not win a tournament with Italy, he reached the final of the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000, and the semi-final of the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1988. He was elected into the all-star teams for each of these tournaments, in addition to Euro 96.

Maldini is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time.[4][5][6][7] He played at a world class level for his entire career spanning two and a half decades, and won the Best Defender trophy at the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1995, the closest a defender had ever come to winning the award until Fabio Cannavaro won the award in 2006. Maldini also placed third in the Ballon d'Or on two occasions, in 1994 and 2003.[8] In 1999, he was voted 21st in World Soccer's list of the 100 greatest football players of the 20th century.[9] In 2002, he was chosen as a defender on the FIFA World Cup Dream Team, and in 2004 he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.[10]

Maldini was also the Milan and Italy captain for many years and was considered a leader by fellow footballers, leading to the nickname "Il Capitano" (the Captain). Maldini holds the records for most appearances in Serie A, with 647,[11] and in UEFA Club competitions, with 174.[12] He is also the record appearance holder for Milan, with 902 appearances in all competitions.[2] Following his retirement after the 2008–09 season, his lifelong club, Milan, retired his number 3 shirt in his honour,[2] and in December 2012, he was inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.[13] Paolo's father Cesare formerly played for and captained Milan, and was a successful national U-21 manager, who also coached both Milan and the senior national side. As of 2015, Maldini is the co-owner of NASL club Miami FC.

Club career

Debut under Liedholm and Sacchi Era

Maldini in 1993.

Originally a Milan youth squad product, Maldini also went on to play his entire club career with the Milan senior side. Maldini won the Coppa Italia Primavera with the Milan Youth side during the 1984–85 season, and he would make his league debut for A.C. Milan under Nils Liedholm during the same season on 20 January 1985, replacing the injured Sergio Battistini in a match against Udinese at the age of 16.[14][15] It was his only league appearance of the campaign, but he was immediately made a member of the starting eleven the following season, at the age of 17, at right back, being handed the number 3 shirt. He was later switched to his more iconic position of left back due to his ability with his left foot. Maldini scored the first of his 29 goals in Serie A on 4 January 1987[16] in a 1–0 win against Como.[17][18]

The 1987–88 Scudetto under Arrigo Sacchi marked Maldini's first trophy, and the first of seven league titles, with the club.[19] Sacchi's Milan side is remembered for including the legendary Dutch trio of Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten, as well as the Italian midfielders Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Donadoni (and later Demetrio Albertini), and their legendary defensive lineup. Under Arrigo Sacchi, and later Fabio Capello, Maldini formed one of the greatest defensive lineups in history. The back four that included Maldini and fellow long-timers Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Mauro Tassotti, as well as Filippo Galli, and later Christian Panucci, is widely considered one of European football's most formidable defensive quartets of the 1990s. During the 1987–88 Serie A season, Milan only conceded 14 goals, finishing with the best defence in Italy, as they went on to win the Serie A title. Following Baresi's retirement, he would also form a formidable and successful partnership with Alessandro Nesta. Maldini went on to win the 1988 Supercoppa Italiana with Milan the following season, and followed up this trophy with back to back European Cup titles in 1988–89 and 1989–90, while Milan finished in third and in second place in Serie A during those respective seasons.[17][18]

To this day, Milan are the last team to have successfully defended the European Cup trophy. Milan reached the final of the 1989–90 Coppa Italia, losing out to Juventus. Milan also managed to capture successive European Super Cup titles in 1989 and 1990, as well as successive Intercontinental Cup titles, once again 1989 and 1990. The following season, in what would be Sacchi's final season with the club, Milan were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the European Cup by eventual finalists Olympique Marseille, and finished second in Serie A, behind Sampdoria, once again with the best defence in the league, conceding only 19 goals. Milan reached the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, losing out to eventual champions Roma. In 1989, Maldini was awarded the Bravo Award, as the best Under-23 player in European Competitions.[17][18]

Capello Era and Post-Capello Crisis

Under Sacchi's replacement, Fabio Capello, Milan would continue to be a dominant force in Italy and in Europe. Maldini was also part of Milan's undefeated Serie A team, which won the championship in the 1991–92 season. Milan went unbeaten for an Italian record of 58 league matches. This would be Milan's first of three consecutive Serie A titles under Capello in the early 90s. Maldini helped Milan defend the Serie A title the following season, and reach the first of three consecutive UEFA Champions League finals. Milan would lose the 1993 Champions League final in a 1–0 defeat to Olympique Marseille. That season, Maldini scored his first goal in European Competitions on 21 October 1992, in a 1–0 Champions League win against Slovan Bratislava.[17] The following season, Milan captured their third consecutive Serie A title, finishing with the best defence in Italy, conceding just 15 goals. Maldini also helped lead Milan to a second consecutive Champions League final, where he helped his team defeat Barcelona. Due to Costacurta's suspension, and injuries sustained to Baresi, Papin and Van Basten, Barcelona's "Dream Team", coached by Johan Cruyff, were heavy favourites to win the trophy, with the formidable attacking duo of Romário and Stoichkov.[20] Despite their key absences, Maldini helped the Milan defence keep a clean sheet and overcome Barcelona 4–0 in the final, with two goals from Massaro, and one each from Savićević and Desailly.[17][18][20]

After winning his third Champions League and reaching the 1994 World Cup final, Maldini became the first defender ever to win World Soccer magazine's annual World Player of the Year Award. During his acceptance speech, Maldini called his milestone "a particular matter of pride because defenders generally receive so much less attention from fans and the media than goalscorers. We are more in the engine room rather than taking the glory."'[21] He then singled out Milan captain Franco Baresi as a player who "really [deserved] to receive the sort of award I have received."[21] Maldini also placed third in the 1994 Ballon d'Or, behind Stoichkov and Baggio, and fifth in the FIFA World Player of the Year Award.[17][18]

The following season, Milan and Maldini captured their third consecutive 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year Award for his performances. Maldini was able to capture his fifth Serie A title, and his fourth under Capello, the following season.[17][18]

Following Capello's departure, and the aging and retirement of several key players, Milan suffered disappointing results during the next few seasons, undergoing several managerial changes. Milan lost the Italian Supercup final to Fiorentina in 1996, and failed to qualify for European Competitions for two consecutive seasons, as well as suffering a group stage elimination in the 1996–97 UEFA Champions League. Following Baresi's and Tassotti's retirement after the 1996–97 season, Maldini was appointed Milan's captain. Despite the difficulties Milan encountered during this period, through Maldini's leadership, they reached the Coppa Italia final in 1998, losing to Lazio, and won the 1998–99 Serie A title under Zaccheroni, finishing one point ahead of Lazio. In the 1999–2000 season, Milan lost the Italian Supercup against Parma, finished third in Serie A, and finished bottom of their Champions League Group. Milan would be eliminated in the second round of the Champions League the next season and would finish in sixth place in Serie A, failing to qualify for the Champions League, and would participate in the UEFA Cup the following season.[17][18]

Ancelotti Era

Maldini lifting the European Cup for Milan after winning the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final

Milan again became a dominant force in Italy and in Europe under Carlo Ancelotti. In the 2001–02 season, Milan finished in fourth place, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, and also reached their best ever finish in the UEFA Cup, losing in the semi-finals. In 2002, Maldini was awarded the Premio Nazionale Carriera Esemplare "Gaetano Scirea", for his career achievements and personality.[22] The following season, Maldini lined up with Alessandro Nesta, Alessandro Costacurta and Cafu, who, along with Japp Stam during the 2004–05 season, would form a formidable defensive lineup in Italy and in Europe. Milan finished third in Serie A, but Maldini won the first Coppa Italia of his career, defeating Roma in the final.[17][18]

Milan won the 2002–03 UEFA Champions League with Maldini as their captain for the first time in his career, in the first all-Italian final, against Juventus, on 28 May 2003 at Old Trafford. Maldini helped Milan keep a clean sheet, as they defeated Juventus 3–2 on penalties after a 0–0 deadlock following extra time. On that day, it was exactly 40 years since Paolo's father, Cesare Maldini, had also lifted the European Cup trophy as Milan's captain, also in England. Maldini was elected Man of the Match, and was named in the UEFA Team of the Year for the first time in his career.[17][18]

The following season, Milan were defeated by Juventus on penalties in the Dino Zoff.[23] Maldini was also included in the FIFA 100 list in 2004, which was a selection of the 125 greatest living footballers, chosen by Pelé. Following his League-winning performances, Maldini was elected to be the Serie A Defender of the Year in 2004 at the Italian footballing Awards.[17][18]

Maldini began the next season by lifting the 2004 Italian Supercup as captain after defeating Lazio. Milan would finish second in Serie A to Juventus that season, and would go on to reach the Champions League final, only to lose out on penalties, although he would open the scoring in the first minute. In 2005, Maldini was elected to be a part of the UEFA Team of the Year for the second time in his career, and was also elected to be the part of the FIFPro World XI for the first time in his career. The following season, Milan finished second behind Juventus in Serie A once again, and reached the Champions League semi-finals, only to be defeated by eventual Champions Barcelona. Both Juventus and Milan were later deducted points for being involved in the 2006 matchfixing scandal, and the title was awarded to Inter, whilst Juventus were relegated, with Milan finishing in third place after the point deduction. During the season, Maldini scored his first and only double of his career, against Reggina. On 25 September 2005, Maldini broke Dino Zoff's Serie A appearance record after playing his 571st league match against Treviso;[24] seven days earlier, he had played his 800th game in all competitions for Milan.[17][18]

The following season, Maldini helped to captain Milan to a fourth-place finish, despite their point deduction, leading them to obtain a crucial Champions League qualifying spot. Maldini played his 600th Serie A match on 13 May 2007 in a 1–1 draw at Catania.[25] That season, Maldini captained Milan to their third Champions League final in six years, leading them to a 2–1 victory over Liverpool in the final on 23 May 2007 in Athens, avenging their defeat from 2005. At the age of 37, Maldini became the oldest captain to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy.[26] Maldini participated in eight UEFA Champions League finals during his career, which is equalled only by Francisco Gento of Real Madrid. Maldini lifted the trophy five times, twice as captain. In an interview with ESPN aired prior to the 2007 final, Maldini labeled the 2005 Champions League final the worst moment of his career. A match where he scored the fastest-ever goal in a European Cup final after 51 seconds and became the oldest player ever to score in a final, Milan lost on penalties to Liverpool after leading 3–0 at half-time. Maldini was elected the UEFA Club Defender of the Year for his 2007 performances.[17][18]

In 2007, after winning the Uefa Super Cup against Sevilla, and becoming the first European Captain to lift the FIFA Club World Cup, after defeating Boca Juniors on 16 December, Maldini announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2007–08 season, saying that he would do so with "no regrets."[27] However, following Milan's elimination from the Champions League by Arsenal in March, Maldini stated that he would possibly delay his retirement for at least a further year.[28] He signed an extension on 6 June that kept him at Milan for the 2008–09 season.[29] On 18 April 2009, Maldini announced that he would be finally retiring at the end of the 2008–09 season.[17][18]

Maldini, pictured in a pre-season friendly in 2008, spent his entire twenty four-year career with A.C. Milan

On 16 February 2008, in the match against Parma at the Tardini stadium, Maldini came on for Jankulovski, making his 1,000th professional career appearance,[30][31] of which 861 were with Milan, 12 with the Italian Under-21 side, 1 with Italian Olympic team, and 126 with the Italian senior team.[32] In European football, only the English goalkeeper Peter Shilton had collected more appearances, 1,390 between 1966 and 1997. Maldini played his last game in the Champions League on 4 March 2008, a 2–0 loss at the San Siro in the last 16 against Arsenal that eliminated Milan from the 2007–08 Champions League. In 2008, Maldini was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit, as well as the Premio Internazionale Giacinto Facchetti, which is awarded to a player who was demonstrated both skill and fair play throughout his career.[18][33]

On 17 May 2009, in the Friuli Stadium, Maldini played his 900th official match for Milan in a league game against Udinese. Maldini's last match in San Siro was on 24 May, a 3–2 loss against Roma, and was given a standing ovation by the fans. There was a small controversy, however, when the Milan Ultras fans known as "Brigate Rossonere", protested against Maldini as he said goodbye.[34][35] His last appearance for Milan, and his last game as an active player, was a 2–0 win against Fiorentina on 31 May 2009 in the last match of the season. This win meant Milan finished in third place and qualified for the following season's Champions League. Maldini was once again given a standing ovation by the fans. As they had previously done with Baresi's number 6 shirt, Milan retired Maldini's number 3 shirt, but stated that it will be bequeathed to one of his sons if one of them were to make the club's senior team.[18][36][37]

On 28 August 2009 in Monte Carlo, Paolo Maldini was Awarded a prize for his career by UEFA during the draw for the group stage of the 2009–10 Champions League.[38] On 17 November 2009 the Spanish sports newspaper Marca awarded Maldini the "Marca Leyenda" prize, for his career and achievements.[39][40]

International career

In 1986, Maldini was called up by his father Cesare to the Italian U-21 team, where he earned twelve caps and scored five goals in two years. Maldini and the Under-21 team finished runners-up to Spain in the 1986 UEFA European Under-21 Championship; two years later, the Under-21 team were eliminated in the first round against eventual winners France in the 1988 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. He made his senior debut for the Azzurri at the age of nineteen on 31 March 1988, in a 1–1 friendly draw against Yugoslavia in Spalato,[41] and made one appearance for the Italy Olympic squad in 1987, although he was not part of the team that finished in fourth place at the 1988 Olympics. Maldini featured in all four of Italy's games at Euro 1988, where they reached the semi-finals, losing to the Soviet Union.[18][42]

Maldini's Italy jersey from the 1990 FIFA World Cup, located in the Football Museum in Florence

Maldini participated in his first World Cup in 1990 on home soil, appearing in all seven Italy matches. Maldini helped Italy to win five consecutive games, and was a starting member of the defence that kept a World Cup record of five consecutive clean sheets. The Italian defence eventually conceded an equalising goal in the semifinal match against Maradona's Argentina, after going a World Cup record total of 518 minutes without conceding.[43] Following two periods of extra time, in which neither team was able to score, Italy lost out to Argentina on penalties. Italy eventually placed third, after defeating England 2–1 in the 3rd–4th Place final match, capturing the bronze medal, and finishing the tournament with the best defence having conceded two goals throughout the entire World Cup. Maldini was elected to be part of the Team of the Tournament.[18][42]

Maldini's first international goal came in his 44th career match, in a 2–0 friendly win over Mexico in Florence, on 20 January 1993.[41] Maldini was part of the Italy squad that participated in the 1992 U.S. Cup, finishing in second place in the friendly tournament, behind the host nation. Italy failed to qualify for Euro 1992, finishing second in their group, but qualified for the 1994 World Cup, where Maldini was named vice-captain for Italy. During the 1994 World Cup, Maldini played in all seven of Italy's matches, and deputised for the injured Franco Baresi in the matches against Mexico, Nigeria, Spain and Bulgaria, keeping a clean sheet in the group match against Norway. Maldini led the Italian defence to the final, playing both as a centreback and as a fullback, due to the absences of his Milan and Italy defensive team mates Baresi, due to injury, Tassotti, due to suspension after the quarterfinals, and Costacurta, who was suspended for the final. Maldini helped Italy keep a clean sheet in the final against favourites Brazil as the team eventually lost on penalties. As in 1990, Maldini was named in the Team of the Tournament, 32 years after his father received the same honour at the 1962 World Cup.[18][42]

After Baresi's international retirement in 1994, Maldini was appointed the team's full-time captain. A disappointing Euro 1996 campaign would see Italy eliminated in the group stage with four points, in a group which contained the two eventual finalists of the tournament, Germany and the Czech Republic. Maldini played in all three of Italy's group matches. The 1998 World Cup in France would see Italy start strongly, topping their group. Maldini played in all five of Italy's matches, and started the play that led to Vieri's opening goal in Italy's first match against Chile, which ended in a 2–2 draw. Maldini, partnering with Costacurta, Cannavaro, Nesta and Bergomi, would also help Italy to keep clean sheets in the second group match against Cameroon, the round of 16 match Norway, and France in the quarter-finals, but Italy would eventually go out of the tournament to the hosts and eventual champions on penalties, for the third consecutive time in a World Cup.[18]

Italy reached the final of Euro 2000, but lost once again to defending World Cup Champions France in extra time. Maldini played in all six of Italy's matches during the tournament. Italy topped their group, winning every match, and Maldini, starting alongside Cannavaro and Nesta, helped the Italian defence to concede only two goals en route to the final, keeping clean sheets against co-hosts Belgium in the group stage, Romania in the quarter-finals, and co-hosts the Netherlands in the semi-finals. A ten-man Italy advanced to the final on penalties after a 0–0 draw with the Dutch following extra time. Although Maldini missed his penalty, Italy won the shootout 3–1. Italy were leading 1–0 in the final until Wiltord equalised in the final minute of stoppage time. Trezeguet scored the golden goal in the 103rd minute, in extra time. In all of the three European Championships in which Maldini participated, he was elected to be part of the team of the tournament for his performances.[18]

Maldini played in his fourth World Cup, and his second as captain, in the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. He helped Italy keep a clean sheet in their opening win against Ecuador, and played in all four of Italy's matches. Italy disappointed in the remaining group matches, but went on to the knockout round as the second placed team of their group. Immediately after a ten-man Italy were controversially eliminated in the round of sixteen, by a golden goal, to co-hosts South Korea, Maldini retired from international football, at the age of 34, as Italy's most capped player. He scored seven international goals, all coming in home games. He spent over half of his 16 years as an international as team captain, wearing the armband a record 74 times,[44] until he was overtaken by Cannavaro.[42][45] Despite his performances for his country, Maldini was unable to win a trophy, although he reached the final of both the World Cup and the European Championship. Maldini made 23 appearances in World Cups, the second highest total after Lothar Matthäus, who appeared in 25 matches. Maldini holds the record for most minutes played in World Cup matches with 2216 minutes played.[46]

In February 2009, Italian head coach Marcello Lippi declared his support for a testimonial match for Maldini, stating that it would give him a chance to play for the Azzurri for a final time.[47] Italian Football Federation offered him a place in the line-up in a friendly match against Northern Ireland. However, Maldini rejected the offer, saying that he wanted to part with football in an "official" match.[48]


Maldini in the Match Against Poverty in Bern, Switzerland in March 2014.

Prior to his retirement, Maldini expressed that he would never be moving into a coaching career.[49][50] He was offered a position that would have reunited him with his former manager, Carlo Ancelotti, by joining Chelsea F.C. as a coach having reportedly met with Ancelotti and with Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, to discuss such a possibility.[51] Ancelotti later announced that Maldini had turned down his offer to become part of Chelsea's coaching staff.[52]

In 2012, Maldini was inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame. Maldini played in the 11th Match Against Poverty on 4 March 2014, appearing with other star players including Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luís Figo and Pavel Nedvěd, which was held in Bern, Switzerland, with proceeds raised helping the recovery efforts in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.[53][54]

On 1 September 2014, Maldini, along with many current and former footballing stars, took part in the "Match for Peace", which was played at the Stadio Olimpico, in Rome, with the proceeds being donated to charity.[55][56][57]

In May 2015, it was announced that Maldini became the co-owner of NASL club Miami FC, alongside television rights entrepreneur Riccardo Silva, in hope that the team would be able to join the MLS in future.[58]

Style of play

Although he played as a left back for most of his career, Maldini was naturally right footed, and began playing for Milan as a right back. He was switched to the left back position by manager Arrigo Sacchi, due to the presence of Tassotti on the right for Milan, and the emergence of the young right back Panucci.[59] This was made possible due to Maldini's tactical versatility and ability with both feet, which allowed him to play anywhere along the backline, and have a long and successful professional career, both with Milan and Italy.[60]

"Maldini was the best and toughest defender I ever faced. He had everything: he was a complete defender, who was strong, intelligent, and an excellent man-marker."

Maldini was renowned for his technical ability, athleticism, sliding tackles, stamina, and fast energetic forward runs as a left-back.[62] He was also an excellent crosser of the ball, and was an effective attacking threat, scoring and assisting several goals throughout his career.[63] In the final few years of his career, as he lost speed, he was moved to a centre-back position, where he excelled in relying on his experience, tactical ability, positioning and timing to win the ball.[64] As a centreback, Maldini was renowned for his marking, awareness and ability to anticipate a threat from the opposition.[65][66] Despite being a precise tackler and an imposing defensive presence, he often avoided committing to challenges when he deemed them unnecessary,[67] preferring to restrict the offensive play of his opponents through his positioning and marking.[68] Maldini was also known for his aerial ability, strength, tackling and man-marking, as well as his tactical knowledge.[60][69] His ability to begin plays from the backline also allowed him to advance into the midfield and excel in the sweeper or libero position, on the rare occasion that he was deployed in this role.[70]


"I always found it very difficult when I came up against Paolo Maldini. He was the best defender I faced over the course of my career. He definitely deserved to win the award FIFA World Player of the Year several times over."

Maldini is considered to have been one of the greatest defenders of all time, and has been described as "an icon and gentleman of the game".[72] He was known for his calm manner on the pitch and his ability to read the game, preferring elegance and intelligence to physicality and aggression when defending, and only received a single red card throughout his entire career.[72][73] In a 2002 FIFA poll, Maldini was selected as a defender in the FIFA World Cup Dream Team.[74]

He was the first defender ever shortlisted for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, finishing second in 1995.[75] He was also twice elected as a finalist for the Ballon d'Or, in 1994 and in 2003, where he finished third on both occasions. In addition to his team success, he also won several individual accolades and awards. He won the UEFA Defender of the year, the Serie A defender of the year, the Bravo Award and the World Soccer Player of the Year Award. He has also been elected as part of the UEFA Team of the Year, the FIFPro World XI, the World Cup Team of the Tournament and the European Championship Team of the Tournament during his career. Maldini was a symbol of his club and the Italian national football team.[76][77] He was renowned for his consistency, versatility and longevity, breaking into the Milan starting lineup as a teenager and remaining there throughout his career until he retired at the age of 41.[78]

Throughout his career, Maldini was also considered to be a leader, both for Milan and for the Italian national team, earning the nickname "Il Capitano" (the Captain).[79] He was renowned for his vocal, commanding presence on the pitch, and for his awareness, communication and organisational skills, helping to motivate his team mates and ensuring they remained in position.[65] He played in over 1000 professional matches during his 25 seasons at Milan, and is the record appearance holder in Serie A, and for Milan in all competitions. Maldini also appeared in a record eight UEFA Champions League Finals, and is the record appearance holder in all UEFA club competitions.[65] With 126 caps during the 16 years he played for Italy, he was the record appearance holder for the national team, until he was overtaken by Fabio Cannavaro in 2009, and by Gianluigi Buffon in 2013. He also formerly the record number of caps for Italy as captain, wearing the armband on 74 occasions,[66] until being overtaken by Cannavaro.[80]


Maldini has appeared in commercials for the American sportswear company the beautiful game" against a team of demonic warriors, with Maldini stating: "maybe they're friendly?", before he starts the move which culminates with Cantona striking the ball and destroying evil.[81]

Maldini features in EA Sports' FIFA video game series; he was on the cover for the Italian edition of FIFA: Road to World Cup 98,[84] and was named in the Ultimate Team Legends in FIFA 14.[85]

Personal life

Maldini has been married to Venezuelan former model Adriana Fossa since 1994.[86][87] The couple have two sons, Christian (born 14 June 1996) and Daniel (born 12 October 2001),[88] who both have already been signed by Maldini's former club Milan and currently play in the youth teams.[89][90]

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 of Real Madrid, and Carles and Sergio Busquets of Barcelona.

Career statistics



Team Season Serie A Coppa Italia European
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Milan 1984–85 1 0 1 0
1985–86 27 0 6 0 6 0 1 0 40 0
1986–87 29 1 7 0 13 0 37 1
1987–88 26 2 1 0 2 0 29 2
1988–89 26 0 7 0 7 0 40 0
1989–90 30 1 6 0 8 0 3 0 47 1
1990–91 26 4 3 0 4 0 2 0 35 4
1991–92 31 3 7 1 38 4
1992–93 31 2 8 0 10 1 1 0 50 3
1993–94 30 1 2 0 10 1 4 0 46 2
1994–95 29 2 1 0 11 0 2 0 43 2
1995–96 30 3 3 0 8 0 41 3
1996–97 26 1 3 0 6 0 1 0 36 1
1997–98 30 0 7 0 37 0
1998–99 31 1 2 0 33 1
1999–00 27 1 4 0 6 0 1 0 38 1
2000–01 31 1 4 0 14 0 49 1
2001–02 15 0 4 0 19 0
2002–03 29 2 1 0 19 0 49 2
2003–04 30 0 9 0 3 0 42 0
2004–05 33 0 13 1 1 0 47 1
2005–06 14 2 9 0 23 2
2006–07 18 1 9 0 27 1
2007–08 17 1 4 0 2 0 23 1
2008–09 30 0 2 0 32 0
Career Total 647 29 72 1 161 3 22 0 902 33

1European competitions include the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup
2Other tournaments include the Supercoppa Italiana, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup and FIFA Club World Cup
3Play-off for UEFA Cup admission


Italy national team
Year Apps Goals
1988 10 0
1989 7 0
1990 11 0
1991 8 0
1992 7 0
1993 5 2
1994 12 0
1995 7 1
1996 7 0
1997 11 2
1998 11 1
1999 7 1
2000 11 0
2001 7 0
2002 5 0
Total 126 7

International goals


Scores and results list Italy's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 20 January 1993 Florence, Italy  Mexico 2–0 2–0 Friendly
2. 24 March 1993 Palermo, Italy  Malta 6–1 6–1 FIFA World Cup 1994 Qualification
3. 11 November 1995 Bari, Italy  Ukraine 3–1 3–1 UEFA Euro 1996 Qualification
4. 29 March 1997 Trieste, Italy  Moldova 1–0 3–0 FIFA World Cup 1998 Qualification
5. 30 April 1997 Napoli, Italy  Poland 2–0 3–0 FIFA World Cup 1998 Qualification
6. 22 April 1998 Parma, Italy  Paraguay 1–0 3–1 Friendly
7. 5 June 1999 Bologna, Italy  Wales 3–0 4–0 UEFA Euro 2000 Qualification





National team




4th Class / Officer: Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana:[104] 2000
5th Class / Knight: Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana:[105] 1991


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Sporting positions
Preceded by
Franco Baresi
Italy captain
Succeeded by
Fabio Cannavaro
Preceded by
Franco Baresi
Milan captain
Succeeded by
Massimo Ambrosini
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