Only one player dared to say NO to Sir Alex’s Manchester United and to Real Madrid. This player bleeds for one team, AC MILAN. For Paolo Maldini it would have been dishonourable to betray his family’s crest. Paolo Maldini is the most loyal player the game has ever seen.
“I tried to sign Maldini but his father’s response was astonishing.He replied: ‘ My grandfather was Milan, my father was Milan, I am Milan and my son is Milan. Forget about it”.
Sir Alex will be reassured that Manchester United was not the only team to have been rejected by the Italian. “ The only club in the world where I could have found the same tradition and ambition as Milan is Real Madrid”. Last year they did, but I was already 34 year-old.
This time Paolo didn’t need his father to reject Madrid’s advances. The facts that a player has turned away the two best teams in the world demonstrated his undying love for AC Milan.
Only someone who shared the same passion could understand these decisions. Cesare Maldini, Paolo’s father also belongs to the closed circle of One Club Players which Paolo received the award for in 2016. It was Cesare who gave his little pal the crucial choice when he was 10. Inter Milan or AC Milan. The response is obvious to them but it changed Paolo’s life.
When he was 16 his journey with Milan got off to a painful start. “ I started playing with boots which were too small, 20 years later I still remember how much I suffered on that day”, he said. Unfortunately, the pain wasn’t just physical. Many people thought that “The only reason this kid is playing is because he’s Cesare’s son”.
But the young man proved himself and won the hearts. 5 Champions League, 7 Italian Championships, The Italian defender became an icon of one of the most respected teams in Europe.
Just like Gianluigi Buffon, Paolo Maldini stood out with his costs on and off the field. His long romance with AC Milan only elevated him in the eyes of the football world but like all the greatest love stories the ending was heartbreaking.
During his last game in the Rossonero jersey against Roma, everyone was expecting a march but the fans chose this moment to settle some scores. They unveiled offensive banners drawing on some stormy past incidents between the tifosi and the player.
Insulted by this gesture and the lack of support from the team’s direction Paolo Maldini refused an offer to work for his Club, his Home. A tragic end to one of the most beautiful stories in Italian football. Whatever the case, the world will forever associate Paolina with AC Milan.