Monday, October 20, 2008

Maldini: Nobody Can Defend Anymore

AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini has registered his concern over the sliding standards of defending not only in Italy, but the world over...

Since Italy's disappointing displays at EURO 2008, serious questions have been asked regarding the quality of players currently plying their trade in the rearguards of Serie A.

Some pundits believe there are few, if any, truly gifted Italian defenders coming through the ranks; and with Fabio Cannavaro likely to join Maldini and Alessandro Nesta in international retirement fairly soon, there is considerable anxiety as to who will lead the Azzurri back-line in years to come.

Maldini, who played 122 games for La Nazionale, agrees that there is a worrying shortage of top-class stoppers, although he insisted the problem is by no means restricted to Italy.

“It is true there aren’t that many great defenders now, but that is not just true of Italy, it is a European and even world issue,” the San Siro hero told the Corriere dello Sport.

However, Maldini does not subscribe to the belief that there is a dearth of raw talent, as he reckons there are plenty of youngsters waiting for their opportunity to shine.

The 40-year-old said: “There are some good young talents out there. Domenico Criscito (currently at Genoa) is great to watch, you can tell he has something special. He just needs to improve physically and gain experience.”