Will the illustrious Maldini legacy at Milan continue with Daniel?

By Oliver Fisher -

Rarely in football history has anything like this happened at one club. But it has to be said that in Milanese and Italian football folklore, nothing really compares to the legacy of the Maldini family, which now extends into its third generation at the Rossoneri club.

It all began with the patriarchal figure of Cesare Maldini, an exceptional figure in the game who excelled as both a player and a coach, passing the torch was passed on to his adoring son. Paolo Maldini even went on to become a legend in his own right, spending the entirety of his professional career with Milan.

Living up to the legacy of such iconic figures in Italian football is by no means easy. Just ask Christian Maldini, who attempted to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, embarking upon his own career as a defender with Milan but unable to make the grade. Now the mantle passes to Daniel Maldini, who has chosen a different path to his forebears.

Cesare Maldini

The son of a sailor and born in the maritime city of Trieste, young Cesare Maldini had no intentions of taking to the seas like his father. Instead, he discovered a passion for the beautiful game and a 18 signed with local side Triestina. Two years later in 1952, Cesare debuted in Serie A and his unique abilities quickly attracted attention.

Destiny called when Cesare transferred to AC Milan in 1954, where he would go on to lay the foundations of a spectacular legacy. In the company of other great players including Francesco Zagatti and Lorenzo Buffon, plus the superb Swedish duo of Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Nordahl, the first Serie A title arrived in Cesareโ€™s debut season with the club.

Official AC Milan archives highlight that during his 12 seasons with the club, between the 1954-55 and 1965-66 campaigns, Cesare Maldini made 412 total appearances and scored just 3 goals. Regarded as a defender who boasted a uniquely exceptional ability, he started out as a right-back and then gradually moved into the heart of defence.

During his time with Milan the senior Maldini won four Serie A titles and the Latin Cup, before going on to help his team become the first Italian side to lift the European Cup in 1963. After concluding his playing days with Torino in 1967, Cesare went on to become a highly respected coach, winning the European Cup Winnersโ€™ Cup and Coppa Italia with AC Milan in 1973. He also guided Italy to three consecutive UEFA U-21 Championships.

Paolo Maldini

Born and raised in Milan, the passion for football coursed through the veins of young Paolo Maldini, making it inevitable he would follow in the footsteps of his father. Handed his debut at the age of just 16 in January 1985 by Nils Liedholm, a former teammate of his father Cesare, it soon became clear that young Paolo was a rising star.

By the age of 17 and just like his dad, Paolo Maldini was playing as a right-back for AC Milan and wearing the same number 3 shirt, quickly establishing himself as a key member of the starting eleven. By the time Arrigo Sacchi arrived and forged โ€œThe Immortalsโ€ era of the late 1980โ€™s and early 1990โ€™s, the second generation Maldini had switched to the left side of defence.

Maldini formed part of an iconic back line included Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta and Mauro Tassotti. After โ€œThe Immortalsโ€ had won a host of honours, including back-to-back European Cup triumphs in 1989 and 1990, that dominant period would morph into โ€œThe Invinciblesโ€ era, when Sacchi took the Italy job and was replaced by Fabio Capello.

The authentic one-club-man, Paolo Maldini remained with Milan for the entirety of his playing career, making 902 appearances in all competitions and scoring 33 goals. His extensive list of playing honours include 7x Serie A titles, 1x Coppa Italia, 5x Supercoppa Italia, 5x European Cup/UEFA Champions League, 4x UEFA Super Cup, 2x Intercontinental Cup, plus the FIFA Club World Cup in 2007. Maldini also earned 126 caps for Italy and scored 7 goals.

Christian & Daniel Maldini

The apple didnโ€™t fall far from the tree insofar as Christian Maldini was concerned, when the oldest of Paoloโ€™s two sons began his football career as a defender with AC Milan Primavera, although he never managed to break into the first team. After brief spells at Reggiana and Hamrun Spartans in Malta followed, Christian dropped down to the lower leagues with Pro Sesto, Fondi, Pro Piacenza and Fano. Now the 25-year-old is at Pro Sesto in Serie C.

Despite beginning his youth career as a defender, young Daniel Maldini soon established himself as an exciting attacking midfield talent, thanks to his impressive playmaking ability and vision. Since debuting with the Milan first team in January 2020, Daniel has gone on to make 12 appearances. Set to turn 20 in October this year, the junior Maldini certainly seems to have a bright football career ahead.

Now acting as technical director at Milan, Paolo Maldini has rejected opportunities to loan out Daniel, preferring to see his son continue to develop within the club. Expert Serie A football betting tips predict a serious title bid from AC Milan, which make them worth backing if we follow key insights on how to find the most generous bonuses. For the same reason, it makes good sense to make sure you have the best betting odds to hand, as they vary amongst different bookies.

Although Milan are priced at longer title odds than Inter Milan and Juventus, good value can still be found, whenever focusing on individual markets including match results and first to score. There are also accumulators to consider, taking bigger risks with the potential to get higher returns.

Meanwhile, it will certainly be interesting to see how the Rossoneri fare this season, especially during a campaign which could see Daniel Maldini begin to establish himself more. For the sake of his family legacy, fans will certainly be hoping this third generation Maldini talent can help the team launch a new golden era.


Tags AC Milan Cesare Maldini Daniel Maldini Paolo Maldini
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