One of the finest defenders in history, Paolo Maldini has named Diego Maradona and two other football legends as the greatest players he has ever seen, Newspremises reports.
The Italian former footballer came face to face with some of the game’s biggest names in a playing career which lasted almost three decades.
The AC Milan legend played against the enigmatic Argentine playmaker Diego Armando Maradona, three-time World Footballer of the Year Ronaldo Nazario, silky Brazilian Ronaldinho and 1998 World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane to mention a few.
When asked to name the finest footballer(s) he has seen, Maldini widened his scope of the greatest of all-time preferences to include Diego Maradona and Ronaldo Nazario – two players he often faced during their stints with Napoli and Inter Milan, respectively, GOAL reports.
He also included seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and reigning FIFA The Best Men’s Player, Lionel Messi, despite never crossing paths with him.
“The three greatest players I saw in my career were Messi, Maradona and him [Ronaldo Nazario],” Paolo said via Tribuna in a documentary about Ronaldo Nazario, O Fenomeno.
In an attempt to name Ronaldo Nazario, Messi and Maradona in his GOAT list, the 54-year-old had to painstakingly leave out some of the game’s greatest achievers.
Legendary Brazilian Edson Arantes do Nascimento, affectionately called Pele, who passed on last December after a long battle with cancer, and Ronaldinho were conspicuously absent.
Not forgetting Zinedine Zidane and Lionel Messi’s fiercest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, failed to make Maldini’s illustrious list.