Franco Baresi

“A lot of the time, he would know what the attacker was going to do before they knew themselves.” This was the fitting tribute of former teammate Ruud Gullit about Milan's Player of the Century, Franco Baresi. Widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time, Baresi's exemplary understanding of the game afforded him some two decades at the very top of the sport. A one club man, AC Milan became the best team in world football under his steady and tremendously loyal captaincy, a role he made his own from the tender age of 22. Five Serie A titles, three European Cups and nine other domestic honours punctate the career of a true Italian icon who, when partnered with fellow icon Paolo Maldini, once conceded a jaw-droppingly low 23 goals in nearly 200 matches.