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Pele is truly the GOAT (2)


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Due to my previous debate on this subject becoming vandalised, which nearly brought tears to my eyes, given the time and effort i put in to it, i have put this debate back up for challenge to whoever would like to take it.

Pele is also a footballer. So this subject pertains mostly to football.
Other GOATS in other fields are nothing to do with the subject.

My opponent can argue for Baked Beanz. (though this is not the subject matter, so would be silly to do so)
All i ask is for an honest debate.
Errors that remain unacknowledged after being pointed out become construed as lies.

Also i will probably use wikipedia as a foundation to launch a debate.
I may use other sources later on, if required.

My opponents argument should be consistent with "the GOAT debate".

Round 1
in 1957, Pele broke another two world records, when he became both the youngest ever player to play for Brazil, as well as score for Brazil

Pelé's first international match was a 2–1 defeat against Argentina on 7 July 1957 at the Maracanã. In that match, he scored his first goal for Brazil aged 16 years and nine months, and he remains the youngest goalscorer for his country.

Now Pele was actually ruled out of the 1958 world cup finals due to injury. But his team mates striked, and threatened to not play if Pele was not included.

Pelé arrived in Sweden sidelined by a knee injury but on his return from the treatment room, his colleagues stood together and insisted upon his selection.

During his first match of that tournament, he broke another world record, becoming the youngest ever player to play in a world cup. Though the record has been broken. He provided an assist for Vava during that game

His first match was against the USSR in the third match of the first round of the 1958 FIFA World Cup, where he gave the assist to Vavá's second goal. He was the youngest player of that tournament, and at the time the youngest ever to play in the World Cup.

In the semi final against France, Pele broke 4 world records.
Becoming the youngest player to play and a world cup semi final.
The youngest player to score in a world cup semi final.
The youngest player to score a brace in a world cup semi final.
As well as the youngest player to score a hat-trick in a world cup semi final

 Against France in the semi-final, Brazil was leading 2–1 at halftime, and then Pelé scored a hat-trick, becoming the youngest in World Cup history to do so

In the final, Pele broke three world record.
Pele became the youngest ever player to play in a world cup final.
The youngest player to score in a world cup final.
And the youngest player to score a brace, in a world cup final

On 29 June 1958, Pelé became the youngest player to play in a World Cup final match at 17 years and 249 days. He scored two goals in that final as Brazil beat Sweden 5–2 in Stockholm, the capital. His first goal where he flicked the ball over a defender before volleying into the corner of the net, was selected as one of the best goals in the history of the World Cup.

Pele after the game, broke another world record, becoming the youngest player to ever receive the silver ball award

The press proclaimed Pelé the greatest revelation of the 1958 World Cup, and he was also retroactively given the Silver Ball as the second best player of the tournament, behind Didi.

Now, i would like to claim, that Pele at aged 17, has now done everything, Diego Maradona, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, will ever do.
Have those players even made their professional debuts yet? 

Now going in to the 1962 world cup, Pele was the best rated player in the world.

When the 1962 World Cup started, Pelé was the best rated player in the world.
Pele began the tournament with a goal and an assist, and then got injured and missed the rest of the tournament

 In the first match of the 1962 World Cup in Chile, against Mexico, Pelé assisted the first goal and then scored the second one, after a run past four defenders, to go up 2–0. He injured himself in the next game while attempting a long-range shot against Czechoslovakia. This would keep him out of the rest of the tournament, 
This would be held against Pele.
His contenders claim that Pele was being carried by a team that was able to win the world cup without him.
This is supposed to be proof for Pele's over rating.
However, Pele was rated the best player in a world cup winning team. That makes him the best, not worst.

The 1966 world cup final was a disappointment for Pele and Brazil.
Pele did break another world record in this tournament however. He became the first player ever to score in 3 consecutive world cups.

Pelé scored the first goal from a free kick against Bulgaria, becoming the first player to score in three successive FIFA World Cups, but due to his injury, a result of persistent fouling by the Bulgarians, he missed the second game against Hungary.
Unfortunately Pele came in for some underhanded tactics, and was kicked off the field, so he was pretty much injured for the rest of the tournament, and missed the next game

During Brazils final game of that world cup, before their premature elimination, an injured Pele would again be kicked off the park, and an incident would happen that would temporarily see Pele retire prematurely from international football.
The referee during that match refused to show a player that had committed deliberate and dangerous play on Pele, the red card, and it is to this day regarded as one of the worst refereeing decisions of all time.

During the game, Portugal defender João Morais fouled Pelé, but was not sent off by referee George McCabe; a decision retrospectively viewed as being among the worst refereeing errors in World Cup history. Pelé had to stay on the field limping for the rest of the game, since substitutes were not allowed at that time. After this game he vowed he would never again play in the World Cup, a decision he would later change.

Pele was back for the 1970 world cup.
Pele would add to his list of world records, becoming the player with most assists in world cup finals

Most assists provided, overall finals
10, Pelé (Brazil, 1958–1970)
As well as most assists in that particular tournament

7, Pelé (Brazil, 1970)
Aswell as another two records for most assists in finals, including 1970

Most assists provided in finals
3, Pelé (Brazil, 1958 and 1970)
Now that is not bad for a player that is also Brazils all time leading goalscorer.
He is also better known for his attacking midfield abilities, of creating assists for others.

Pele would also score 6 goals in 6 games during this tournament

Pelé was called to the national team in early 1969, he refused at first, but then accepted and played in six World Cup qualifying matches, scoring six goals

Pele also won the golden ball for that tournament, and that went nicely with his other world record of becoming the only player to win 3 world cups.

 Pelé received the Golden Ball as player of the tournament.

Now Pele was a player that could play anywhere on the field. His territory included all attacking positions, including the wings, and attacking midfield

In his early career, he played in a variety of attacking positions. Although he usually operated inside the penalty area as a main striker or centre forward, his wide range of skills also allowed him to play in a more withdrawn role, as an inside forward or second striker, or out wide. In his later career, he took on more of a deeper playmaking role behind the strikers, often functioning as an attacking midfielder.

Pele aged only 17 years of age, has done everything any other footballer will "ever do".
Has Messi, Ronaldo, Maradona, even made their debuts yet?

"Pele is "truelly" the goat".

Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈɛtsõ (w)ɐˈɾɐ̃tʃiz du nɐsiˈmẽtu]; born 23 October 1940), known as Pelé ([peˈlɛ]), is a Brazilian retired professional footballer who played as a forward.
Now i would like to highlight to begin with, some of his greatest accolades

 In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award. That same year, Pelé was elected Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. According to the IFFHS,
So it is already perfectly clear, that from above, the footballing establishment consider Pele, to be the greatest footballer of all time.

Now i would like to take a look at Pele's goalscoring history, which is considered to be the most prolific of all time.

According to the IFFHS, Pelé is the most successful domestic league goal-scorer in football history scoring 650 goals in 694 League matches, and in total 1281 goals in 1363 games, which included unofficial friendlies and is a Guinness World Record.

Also let us take a look at Pele's wage. He was the "highest paid player in the world".

During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world.
Now here is something truly amazing. Pele was still at "high school" when he first appeared in the Santos first team.
"He was only 15".

Pelé began playing for Santos at age 15
If this is not remarkable enough, Pele made his debut for the greatest footballing nation in the world, "aged only 16".

and the Brazil national team at 16.
Now Pele to this day, is the only player to be part of a team that won "three" world cups.
And Pele was in this team at "sixteen".

 During his international career, he won three FIFA World Cups19581962 and 1970, being the only player ever to do so.
"Incredibally" Pele is the all time leading scorer for this remarkable footballing nation.

 Pelé is the all-time leading goalscorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games. 
But not only is Pele the leading goalscorer for the greatest footballing nation in the world, he is also at club level, Santos all time leading goalscorer.

At club level he is the record goalscorer for Santos,

Now i will highlight other ways Pele has contributed to our philosophy of the game, without even knowing it.
To begin with, the term "beautiful game" comes from Pele.

At club level he is the record goalscorer for Santos, and led them to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores. Known for connecting the phrase "The Beautiful Game" with football
Pele also became a circus act

Pelé's "electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals" made him a star around the world, and his teams toured internationally in order to take full advantage of his popularity.
He is not the world ambassador for football, for no reason

Pelé has been a worldwide ambassador for football and has made many acting and commercial ventures. 
Now despite the fact Pele had to work so hard for his wage, becoming a circus act, he still managed to keep up almost a goal per game.

Averaging almost a goal per game throughout his career,
Pele also had the rare gift of Ambidexterity

Pelé was adept at striking the ball with either foot
He had a high level of anticipation. And football lovers of the PC game "football manager" will appreciate just how important this attribute is.

in addition to anticipating his opponents' movements on the field.
Now, one of the amazing things about Pele, is he was not even an out and out striker.
Pele was a "playmaker/striker".

While predominantly a striker, he could also drop deep and take on a playmaking role, providing assists with his vision and passing ability,
Pele had all the attributes of an attacking midfielder.

and he would also use his dribbling skills to go past opponents.
In Brazil, Pele is not only considered a "legend", he is considered a national "hero", and not only for the way he effected football.

In Brazil, he is hailed as a national hero for his accomplishments in football and for his outspoken support of policies that improve the social conditions of the poor.

Now, for those that may like to look for signs of "divination" as proof of something meaningful, you will find "mystical occurences" in "abundance" with Pele.

In fact, there is a spooky example on this very thread in the comment section, where it is pointed out to me that i have made a serious grammatical error.
My title original said "Pele is truelly the goat".

Now, right from Birth, Pele was given the wrong name, due to his family making a spelling error on his birth certificate, regards to his own name.
His name should have been Edson. But due to his families spelling error, his name on his birth certificate makes him an "Edison". Not an "Edson", like the rest of his family.

His parents decided to remove the "i" and call him "Edson", but there was a mistake on the birth certificate, leading many documents to show his name as "Edison", not "Edson", as he is called.
This points to Pele being from an extremely poverished family. Not so much illetarate, but seeing literacy as being of lesser importance, when it comes to the key factors that is going to lift them out of this struggle.

From birth, Pele was awarded the nickname "Dico" after a Brazilian footballing great.

He was originally nicknamed "Dico" by his family.
Pele actually received his nickname "Pele" in primary school, when he kept referring to his favourite footballer "Bile" as "Pele" as he appeared to have great difficulty pronouncing it correctly, much to the amusement of his school chums, that labelled him Pele. Completely unaware of what Pele means.

He received the nickname "Pelé" during his school days, when it is claimed he was given it because of his pronunciation of the name of his favorite player, local Vasco da Gama goalkeeper Bilé, which he misspoke but the more he complained the more it stuck. 
But the word Pele, is derived from Hebrew פֶּ֫לֶא.
And it means "miracle".

Apart from the assertion that the name is derived from that of Bilé, and that it is Hebrew for "miracle" (פֶּ֫לֶא),

Now at the age of 14, this little miracle wanted to play in an adult footballing competition. But he was considered too young. He was however later accepted.
Pele finished, at age 14, the tournaments top goalscorer.

 In addition, indoor football allowed him to play with adults when he was about 14 years old. In one of the tournaments he participated, he was initially considered too young to play, but eventually went on to end up top scorer with fourteen or fifteen goals. "That gave me a lot of confidence", Pelé said, "I knew then not to be afraid of whatever might come"
Now we have already covered that Pele made his debut for Santos at age 15.
What we have not covered is that Pele also scored for Santos during that debut, in a 7-1 victory.

Pelé was highly promoted in the local media as a future superstar. He made his senior team debut on 7 September 1956 at the age of 15 against Corinthians Santo Andre and had an impressive performance in a 7–1 victory, scoring the first goal in his prolific career during the match.
The next season at just 16 years of age, Pele became the leagues highest goalscorer

When the 1957 season started, Pelé was given a starting place in the first team and, at the age of 16, became the top scorer in the league. 
Now there are criticisms that Pele did not play in europe, nor sign for a top european team.
But this is untrue.
Pele was wanted by Real Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United, and Pele ended up signing for Inter Milan

After the 1958 and the 1962 World Cup, wealthy European clubs, such as Real MadridJuventus and Manchester United,[14] tried to sign him in vain; in 1958 Inter Milan even managed to get him a regular contract,
However, the Inter Milan chairman had to tear the contract up, as Santos supporters began rioting on the streets of Brazil, and so the Brazilian authorities had to try and find a way of bringing Pele back to Brazil, and negotiate a compensation package for him, to ensure he returns to Santos, and never leaves Brazil again.
It was something of a national security issue.

but Angelo Moratti was forced to tear the contract up at the request of Santos' chairman following a revolt by Santos' Brazilian fans. However, in 1961 the government of Brazil under President Jânio Quadros declared Pelé an "official national treasure" to prevent him from being transferred out of the country.
Now, this is truly incredible. In 1958, aged only 17, Pele would smash a record that he would never be able to beat for the rest of his career. And that was scoring 58 goals in one league season.

Pelé won his first major title with Santos in 1958 as the team won the Campeonato Paulista; Pelé would finish the tournament as top scorer with 58 goals, a record that stands today.
Also for anyone that thinks Santos were a micky mouse team, in a micky mouse league, Santos would, in 1962, win what is the equivalent of todays world club cup. They achieved this when they defeated Benfica in the intercontinental cup final.

Santos would also win the 1962 Intercontinental Cup against Benfica.
Pele did not only score a brace in this 5-2 victory. He scored a "hat-trick".

Wearing his number 10 shirt, Pelé produced one of the best performances of his career, scoring a hat-trick in Lisbon as Santos won 5–2.
However, this does not do justice to Pele, as the game was actually a two legged affair.
Santos had already won the first leg 3-2, with Pele hitting a brace.
So the full time result was actually Benfica 4-8 Santos. With Pele scoring an amazing 5 goals in the final, against what was the european cup winners of 1961.

Now Santos would do something even Real Madrid failed to do. And that was to win the tournament for a second time, by defending their trophy.
Real Madrid only won this tournament once, in 1960.

Santos opened with a first leg 4-2 defeat away to AC Milan. Pele amazingly scored 2 goals.
Santos in the second leg, would take the game to a replay, by returning a 4-2 victory, where Pele amazingly did not score. Though he was captain.
In the grand finale, Santos would reclaim the trophy with a hard fought 1-0 victory. Winning 9-8 on aggregate. Again, Pele did not score, though was captain.

In 1968, Santos would also win the inter-continental super cup, which was a world club cup competition, based more along the lines of todays "champions league", with league qualifiers leading to the final knock out stages.

Santos opened the campaign with a 2-0 victory over Racing club, and Pele scored one. (press show at right)

In the second league match, they defeated Penarol 1-0. Pele would not score.

In the 3rd match, Santos would defeat Racing club 3-2, this time away from home. Pele again, would not score

In the final league game, Santos would be defeated away from home, 3-0 by Penarol. But Santos on points would qualify as group winners.

In the final, Santos would defeat Pele's old club, Inter Milan 1-0 and win the competition. Though Pele would not score

Now, was there ever a game between Real Madrid and Santos? The answer is "yes".

It was regarded as a friendly between the greatest two sides in the world at that time.
It was regarded as "Alfrredo Di Stefano" v "Pele".

It was the only confrontation between the best generations of two of the teams listed among the greatest of the 20th century 
The game took place in 1959, when Pele was 19 years of age.
The game took place only two weeks after Real Madrid had just won the 1959 european cup.

The friendly came two weeks after Real Madrid won their fourth European title .
The game was touted as being a personal dual.
Alfredo Di Stefano v Pele

The Spanish chronicle sold the duel as a confrontation between Alfredo Di Stéfano , who was 32 years old and was considered the greatest player in European football, and young Pelé , 18,
According to a newspaper, the match was considered "the world club championship".

The Journal of Sports the day before the game called Duel "authentic end of the world club championship."
After 10 minutes, Pele scored to make it 1-0 to Santos

After 10 minutes, Pelé hits a kick from outside the area and opens the scoring for the visitors.
Real Madrid hit back with 3 goals in 20 minutes

However, involved in Real's offensive moves, the beach side concedes three goals in 20 minutes from striker Enrique Mateos , who outshines the stars on the field by taking advantage of three precious assists by Alfredo Di Stéfano .
Santos would begin the second half clawing a goal back, after Pele won a penalty, that would be converted by Pepe, to bring the latest score to 3-2 Madrid.

In the second half, the Brazilians react with Pepe , in a violent penalty for Pelé 

However Real Madrid would soon restore their two goal advantage, by making the score 4-2.

Administering the advantage, the hosts again expand with Ferenc Puskás , diving with goldfish to test the ball inside the area.
Santos react though, and Pele provides an assist for Coutinho to bring the scoreline back to 4-3

In Pelé's move, shirt 10 kicks hard, the goalkeeper flattens and the rebound remains with Coutinho, 16 years just completed, which pushes into the networks.
But Real Madrid once again reconsolidate their two goal advantage with Alfredo Di Stefano proving his 4th assist of the match, to make the full time score 5-3 to Real Madrid.

At 38, Alfredo Di Stéfano , presented his last and fourth assist in the game. He advanced through the middle and took a millimeter pass at Gento's feet , which closed the scoreboard.
Now, after the 5-3 victory, Real Madrid seeked to rub salt in Santos wounds, and they went to the press, and the press hailed Alfredo Di Stefano as proving he is the best player in the world, and not Pele.

For Marca , the confrontation showed that Alfredo Di Stéfano was the best player in the world. The newspaper described "the great work of Alfredo Di Stéfano , an entire orchestra conductor, capable of literally destroying a slow and pretentious rival."  The conclusion in Madrid was that Santos had four great strikers ( Pepe , Pelé , Pagão and Coutinho ), but an incredibly slow and weak defense. And Pelé was a great promise, although very individualistic. Unlike Alfredo Di Stéfano . “At Santos, the team plays for Pelé. At Madrid, Alfredo Di Stéfano plays for the team. ” analyzed Agustín Gaínza .
The assassination of Pele continued

Vasco da Gama's coach , Gradim , witnessed the match and left his impressions: "I am convinced that Alfredo Di Stéfano is, in fact, an extraordinary crack. I have not seen any better.
And on and on it went

The ABC newspaper described in its headline: "Real Madrid's easy and fair victory over Santos (5-3) in a match in honor of Munoz". For the newspaper's chronicle, "the speed of European champions was imposed on the slow virtuosity of Brazilians". 
But, there is something nobody is taking in to consideration.
Unlike Alfredo Di Stefano, Pele has to work tooth and nail to be the highest paid player in the world.
He has to go on tour, in order to get half the gate receipts to pay his wage.
It was part of his deal when returning to Santos.
Pele has to play 3 or 4 games per week.
When Pele went to play against Real Madrid, this was Pele and Santos players 14th game, in 25 days, in six different countries

The Santos players blamed the game marathon for the defeat. There were 14 games in 25 days in six different countries.
You see, this puts things in a different light.
This is why Pele is considered athlete of the century.
It is why he was never able to break the 58 goals in a season record he smashed in 1958 at age 17.
It is not because he got to age 17, and became a worse player.
No, he was a better player at 25 and 26 than he was at 17.
But because he was now a circus act, he was a man that had to pace himself, and was never able to play at full throttle anymore.
Though you will see glimpses of him playing at full throttle, like when he smashed 5 goals against european cup winners Benfica.
Yet he only scored 1 goal against south american teams in the 1968 inter-continental super cup, in games that Santos were expected to win anyway.

Now it is almost guaranteed, that had Alberto Di Stefano just played 14 games in 25 days in 6 different countries, he would be dead on his feet, and would not even turn up.

You will never see Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionell Messi, or Diego Maradona, agree that they have to go on tour and work for their own wages.
Not in your life-time.

Now despite the negative coverage for Pele after this match, Pele still went home having scored one goal, and assisting two.
And this was a game played on Reals home turf.

It is claimed that Real Madrid refused a return leg at the Marcana. And this claim is supported by the fact that there is no record of a return match being played at the Marcana

Santos players claimed that they attempted a rematch, but the Spanish team always claimed schedule problems. 

But in 1965, Santos did officially get their revenge, when an official world club cup event tied Santos and Real Madrid together in the final at the Marcana, and Real Madrid handed Santos the trophy without turning up for the game.

In 1965 , the two teams participated in a quadrangular in Buenos Aires , but Real Madrid gave up playing in the final and gave up the trophy to Santos 
I am going to propose, the reason for this, is because Real Madrid knew damn fine, the Santos team that turned up at the Bernabue, were "tired". And Pele the circus clown, was "tired", like a circus tiger.

But they knew, Santos and Pele, will be well rested, in the event of a rematch, and their "claims" would be ripped up.

Their claims got ripped up in 1965, when Real Madrid refused to stand and watch what they knew was going to happen, and decided to just spare themselves, and go awol.

No team has ever done this with Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, nor Maradona however.

Round 2
Round 3
I will back Paolo Maldoni as the GOAT and in part will be explaining why a best defender is ultimately superior to a best striker.

- me in the comments section.

The best defender can barely ever be scored against and on top of that, Maldini has shown extreme knowledge of all other roles and is/was a highly respected coach and captain and much else for a lot of his career. He is an icon of what it means to embody a GOAT. A GOAT doesn't just do what they do best, they understand it and can transcribe that into other uses of their talent better than the other 'skilled players' do. This is how you define a GOAT. Just because a Striker kicked harder and faster and scored more doesn't mean much when compared with an absolutely fantastic defender who never took unnecessary risks, never 'hogged the ball' and always helped out his teammates both on and off the field.

He is a mentor, an OG, a fantastic 'fatherlike figure' to his teammates. Maldini is that guy to be, the guy to beat, the guy to aspire to embody the philosophy of. He 'defends' what's his yet shares the rewards and glory readily with his teammates. Strikers are in it for the glory usually, defenders are in it for the team spirit and long-term career ride far beyond the field and far beyond narcissistic advertising deals.

Pele is great, don't get me wrong. He really is. Is he the greatest of all time? He didn't even compete at an evoled-enough time in football history to compare that with Maldini, who pushed through many eras.
Round 4
Maldini, over the course of his career, faced all of the best players of his time – from Maradona in the ‘80s to this current Messi-Ronaldo period, which began at the fag end of his career. He earned victories over nearly all of them and is universally acknowledged as the greatest left-back of all time.

#1 He was world-class right from his introduction
Maldini broke into Milan’s first team at the mind-bogglingly young age of 16. Within 2 years of his introduction to the Milan first team, Maldini was competing in European competitions and performing against the best footballers of the day.
He won his first Champions League trophy in the 1988-89 season and then proceeded to defend the trophy alongside Franco Baresi, Mauro Tassotti and Costacurta with a 1-0 win over Benfica. By that time, he had also made his senior national team debut (at the age of 19), already having been blooded into Italy’s youth setup under his own father and Italian football legend Cesare.
These were the turning points of his career, as his elite defensive skills came into notice before he turned 23 years old – he is one of the few defenders to have won 2 Champions League trophies by that age.

#2 He has won almost every trophy there is to win
Maldini has won numerous trophies including the Champions League
Maldini, over the course of his career, has won multiple league and cup titles. He also has the distinction of being the most decorated defender in the European Cup/Champions League, having won it in ‘89, ‘90, ‘94, ‘03 and finally in the Istanbul revenge match against Liverpool in the 2006-07 season.
7 Serie A titles, 5 Champions League crowns, a Coppa Italia, 5 editions each of the European and Italian Super Cups as well as 3 Club World Cup/Intercontinental Cup titles populate Maldini’s decorated CV, which would hold its own against almost any in European football history.
The only regret of his career may be his failure to win international tournaments with Italy, for whom he was the record-holder for appearances as player and captain, till Cannavaro and Buffon proceeded to break his records. He was spectacular in all of those tournaments nonetheless and faced heartbreak in one Euro Cup final, as well as the intensely dramatic ‘94 World Cup final, in which Maldini’s Italy lost to Brazil on penalties.

#3 His colleagues hold him in the highest esteem
Even Ronaldinho was stunned by his abilities as a defender
Through the course of his career, Maldini has faced some of the most dangerous strikers, wingers and attacking midfielders to ever ply their trade in Europe. A fully in-form Ronaldo, who played for Inter during Maldini’s best years, was emphatically shut out by Maldini and Nesta during their Milan derbies.
Even Ronaldinho remarked this when asked his opinion on who his toughest opponents were – “Paolo Maldini and John Terry are the two toughest men I have ever met on the football field.”
He is not alone in his adulation for the man. Many of his other opponents have acknowledged Maldini as the best defender they ever faced back in their day – he is one of the few players to ever hold his own while marking Ronaldo Nazario in those epic Milan derbies of the late 1990s.

#4 His longevity is incomparable in football history
Maldini began his professional career in 1985, and for a period of 25 years, he was almost the exact same player when we talk about his fitness and his endurance levels. He was a world-class player for the entire length of his career, and even though he was 41 years old when he retired, Paolo was an athletic phenomenon till his last game. Such consistency over such an incredibly long period of time (Paolo has 902 appearances for club and country) has only been shown by the greatest players of all time. While Maldini had a number of injury-hit seasons during the latter stages of his career, his overall quality was always taken for granted by every Milan manager that he played under. While he was easily the best defender of his team in the noughties, Maldini was also really gracious and intelligent while managing the number of games he played each season. He gave up playing twice a week for extended periods, in order to preserve his fitness levels for the games that he did play in.

#5 His ability ranks among the very best in history
Maldini is considered to be one of the greatest tacklers in world football
While it is hard to find good quality YouTube videos showing his tackling skills, the amount of respect that every dribbler showed to him wherever he played can easily be peeked at when you look at his footage from the 1990s, and even in the latter stages of his career.
Maldini’s greatest attribute was his ability to produce an attack-stopping, instinctive reaction without fuss, whenever he had the opportunity to do so. He is probably the greatest tackler to ever take the football pitch, but so masterful was his reading of the game that even when he switched to the centre back role later in his career, he never did need to put in many tackles in any such situation.
It is Maldini’s defensive skills that gained him all the renown in the world, but as fans, we often forget that he was an amazing left-back, as well as a centre-back, despite being a predominantly right-footed player. The two-footed nature of his game allowed him to be a marauding attacker when he needed to, and Maldini has scored a number of screamers through the length of his career.

#6 His relationship with Milan is THE benchmark for loyalty and respect
Maldini has known only one club
Paolo Maldini has known no football club other than Milan. His entire career was spent at the San Siro training pitches, mostly on the left side of defense, but also in the central areas for a fair share of time. It is no wonder that Maldini’s No. 3 jersey has been retired and is hung in the San Siro museum with the greatest of adulation.Several times in his career, Maldini was involved in Milan teams which were not as good as the ones in which he began his career. If he had wanted, he could have moved to any club, anywhere in the world, but he saw Milan through all of their ups and downs of the ‘90s – from the lows of losing in Champions League finals and finishing with no silverware, to beating Barcelona 4-0 in the 1994 European Cup final.
Such loyalty from one of the very best players in the history of the game is incredibly rare, and Il Capitano is a benchmark of loyalty for all footballers.

#7 The impact he has today as a role model for footballers everywhere is unmatched
Young kids in football academies all over the world are taught to learn basic skills from the very best. And when it comes to the basic skills of defending, Maldini is second to no one in footballing history. Left-backs are only given one example to learn from, and that is Maldini.
It never was Ashley Cole or even Roberto Carlos, even though the Englishman is definitely the greatest player at left-back from the noughties, while the Brazilian is a much-loved and admired player all over the world. Left-backs from football academies all over the world, even in India, look up only to Maldini as their inspiration.
Today’s top footballers are all in awe of Maldini, whose aura and legacy goes far beyond just the football field. Il Capitano represents a beacon of footballing quality married with the best human qualities on the football pitch, and Maldini is considered one of the ultimate authorities on any topic in football today, even though he chooses not to involve himself in football on a daily basis after retirement.
lemme share a video of his and nesta’s defending skills

Now, even his son joined AC MILAN. That’s the respect they have towards the club hence, he is considered to be the greatest and most loyal defenders.

Round 5
Pele came in hard and fast, Maldini defended the goal.