AC Milan are giants of the Italian game. Only Real Madrid have bettered their seven European Cups and in the late Eighties they entered an era of European dominance that few clubs have matched before or since.
With the cash from Silvio Berlusconi's takeover in 1986 and the nous of manager Arigo Sacchi, Milan built an almost unstoppable side based around three Dutch internationals. Striker Marco van Basten was the first to arrive at the San Siro in 1987, with Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit following a year later. Add to those three a defence marshalled by the legendary Franco Baresi and this truly was a great Milan side. They won three European Cups and four Scudettos in an unprecedented period of success.
The personnel may have changed at Milan but their success has continued in recent years, adding two further European Cups and three more league titles. Where the Dutch stars led the way players like Zvonimir Boban, George Weah, Marcel Desailly, Andrea Pirlo and Kaka have followed.
Milan are a club where loyalty is valued above all else and they have paid the greatest tribute possible to one former star with another set for the same accolade. The number six shirt has been retired in honour of Franco Baresi. One of the greatest defenders of all time, Baresi spent his entire career with the Rossoneri, making 532 appearances.
The number three is soon to go the same way when Paolo Maldini decides to put an end to his long and illustrious career. Maldini made his debut for the club at the age of just 16. With over 650 appearances since then, no one has played more for AC Milan or in Serie A in general. Another one-club man, the only way the number three could return is if one of Maldini's sons joins the club. Considering Paolo's father Cesare was also a Milan captain there is every chance of that happening.