Sporting greats (1): Franco Baresi

Not known for texting WAGs...

Watching Man Utd crush AC Milan this week, brought back memories of the great 80’s team, particularly with Ruud Gullit pontificating at half-time. Everyone  naturally recalls the Dutch triumvirate with Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, and the incredible staying power of ageing renaissance prince Paolo Maldini. For The Knife, however, the  coolest, most imperious and faintly enigmatic presence was the great Baresi.

Italy breeds the toughest, most tactically aware defenders you can get (Scirea, Vierchowod etc), as well as some of the hardest (Gentile). Baresi played sweeper for Milan and Italy, with fantastic positional sense, and won six Serie A championships, three European Cups and two World Club Cups.

Plenty of players win trophies though, Baresi had something rarer: an ineffable presence and sang froid that was perfect for the highest echelons of the game. He makes you realise that John Terry is after all, a little overrated…

Master and servant
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