Former Milan defender and Italy manager Cesare Maldini has died at the age of 84, the Serie A club have announced.
The Italian won four league titles with the Rossoneri between 1954 and 1962 and also captained Milan to their inaugural European Cup triumph in 1963. He would later go onto manage them, winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup and Coppa Italia in 1972-73. He helped Italy to World Cup glory in 1982 as the team’s assistant manager, and got the chance to coach his son, Paolo, when he was appointed as Italy manager between 1996-1998.
Milan said in a statement: “AC Milan sends its condolences to the Maldini following the passing of Rossoneri great Cesare Maldini. Cesare skippered the club to its first European Cup triumph in 1963 at Wembley and the loss of such a key figure in Rossoneri history has left everyone at AC Milan moved and saddened. Cesare had recently turned 84 and he left his mark at the club not only as a player, but also as a coach and scout.
The club president Silvio Berlusconi and the rest of the club will always remember fondly his charisma, kindness and warm smile.”
Franco Baresi, another legendary Milan and Italy defender, led the tributes to Maldini: “He was above all a really good person and he has left us. He was a legend and an incredible captain. As a coach he achieved so much and I had the good fortune of getting to know him really well. I was lucky enough to share with him the experience of the 1982 World Cup. I learnt so much from him. He was important and key in passing on the kind of values that we so often forget.”
Milan have confirmed that they will wear black armbands in Sunday’s match against Atalanta and the Italian Football Association have said that there will be a minute’s silence before all matches on Sunday and Monday in Italy in memory of Maldini.
Mauro Tassotti, who played over 400 matches for Milan and played under Maldini for the national team, also expressed his condolences. “I had no idea he was unwell,” the 56-year-old said. “It’s such a blow for Paolo but also for my family and football as a whole. He was involved in the game for 60 years. This is a sad day for our sport and not just for Milan. I will remember Cesare for his kindness. He was a part of several eras of the game. In my view, he took that benevolence that existed in the 1960s and modernised it.”