el capitanoPaolo 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 1963. 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. Maldini was the first defender to win the World Soccer's World Player of the Year Award, which puts him in the same class of Michel Platini, Paolo Rossi, and Zico. On receiving his award, Maldini said: "It's a great honor for me to know that so many people consider me so highly. It's 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. I must admit that, for me, 1994 was the peak of my career so far. For any player to win the Champions Cup or to play in the World Cup Final would be enormous single matter of pride --- but I was fortunate enough to be able to experience both those pinnacles of the game within a matter of weeks. Of course, whatever success I may have achieved is not merely down to my own credit. There are other people and influences on my career it would be only fair to acknowledge. Everyone always asks me about my father, Cesare, who captained Milan to their first Champions Cup victory in 1963 and is now our national under-21 coach. But I don't really remember him as a player. I played under his instructions in Milan youth teams when I was a boy but really I learned more from him about being a man, about a correct attitude to the game, than from a technical point of view. Then, there has been my captain and colleague Franco Baresi. In my opinion he has received far too little recognition for his influence within the club and within Italian and international football. He is the man of few words but 'talks' instead through his deeds out on the pitch. He really deserves to receive the sort of award I have received from World Soccer. But ... thank you again!"