RANKED: The 25 Greatest Soccer Players Ever

10. Paolo Maldini

When you think ‘defense’ in the world of football, the Italians come to mind. Disciplined, organized, and resolute, we’ve seen countless footballers from this country who’ve gone onto glory. The best of them all has to be Paolo Maldini. Maldini functioned as the fulcrum of Italy’s defense for over a decade. He could play both left back and right back at a world class level (and could fill in as a central defender without batting an eye).

Maldini had a willingness to get up the pitch — whether it was attacking players off the dribble or whipping in dangerous crosses. All the while, his dedication to the defensive end of the pitch was spectacular. He was seemingly never caught out of position. The tactical side of things — a hallmark of the Italian game — was his bread and butter. Whilst with A.C. Milan on the club level, Maldini won 26 trophies. He also participated in four World Cup tournaments.

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