Sports Nicknames - Il Capitano



When people are asked to name the greatest defenders in football, one of the most common names that come out is Paolo Maldini. In fact, he is commonly found on lists of the greatest players of all time.

Paolo Maldini, aka Il Capitano, is one of the most famous Italian players of the past and one of the best defenders to play the game.Not only is Il Capitano regarded as a great defender, but a great leader. He made his debut for the Milan side that would go on to be known as The Immortals, continuing his success with The Invincibles before taking the captaincy in 1996 with the retirement of Franco Baresi and Mauro Tassotti. He would go on to win six league titles in between 1987 and 2000.

As captain, Milan reached another era of dominance in the 2000s under Carlo Ancelotti. He won Serie A once and the Champions League twice, as well as his first Coppa Italia. He retired in 2009, having made over 900 appearances for I Rossoneri, having his number 3 shirt retired (unless one of his sons played for Milan and wanted it).

On the international team, Maldini did not have as much success. He was part of the side that kept a record 5 consecutive clean sheets at the 1990 World Cup, but did not win the competition. He did become Italy's most capped player, but that's about the only "trophy" he got.

Maldini's defending style is what makes him so highly regarded. His positioning at left-back made him almost impassable, so that he didn't have to make tackles. When he was on the ball, he looked like an elegant midfielder. Undoubtedly, the combination of leadership and footballing abilities allow Il Capitano to deserve his spot as one of the greatest players of all time.