5 players who had a special bond with their club
Football is witnessing a renaissance of its own presently. The game has become seamless and attracts interest from every corner of the world. The culture of the game has changed alarmingly.
The clubs are on a hunt of instant glory and dominance. There is absolutely zero scope for error in the modern cut-throat competition. Every season the clubs pour millions into signing new players in the transfer market.
However, when turning the back pages, there is always a sense of contentment among the football fans. The romance of the game, its loyal players, its passionate fans were something even the rivals couldn't fail to acknowledge.
Football was actually more than just a matter of life and death. The game has been privileged to witness some devoted players who shared a special bond with their clubs. A bond which was seraphic. A bond which was beguiling.
We take a look at the journeys of some players who went from being "a promising youngster" to "the club legend" in the same colours.
#5 Paolo Maldini - AC Milan
It is said that the difference between a good and a great defender is that the former isn't afraid of throwing himself at challenges while the latter avoids any such situation where he has to throw himself to challenges.
On that note, Maldini was the greatest defender football has ever seen. He had pace, versatility, strength, crossing and tackling abilities, game-reading skills; everything one wishes for in a defender.
Maldini made his first senior appearance for AC Milan at the age of 16. He played in over 1,000 professional matches during his 25 seasons at Milan and won everything at the club and national level. He was the first defender to have been nominated for the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award.
He won seven Serie A titles and five European titles with Milan in the process. The Italian announced his retirement at the end of the 2008-09 season. His last appearance for Milan, and his last game as an active player, was a 2–0 win against Fiorentina on 31 May 2009.
At the age of 41, Maldini hung up his boots. Milan have retired the iconic number #3 jersey of the legend. The game would probably never see a player of Maldini's calibre again.