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Milan Legends: Demetrio Albertini

We talked about Baresi, who holds a very special place for me in Milan lore. But this man, after Maldini, was my favorite player to ever wear the Milan jersey. I wanted so much to play like Albertini and spent hours attempting to swerve free kicks and shots into any net or wall I had available. I spent hours holding the ball and looking for an imaginary pass to the wing hoping that Donadoni, Savicevic, or Boban would receive the pass in my backyard…

We know all the accolades, trophies, and victories he has tasted but for this legends post I don’t want to focus on that. Albertini meant more to me than just those accolades. For me Albertini is extra special because he was playing a style that only now in this modern era of football gets real PR for what he did and what he was capable of.

It is hard to call a player like Pirlo a modern day Albertini because these guys for me are different. They are once in a lifetime type players, one off in each generation of footballers who do things just a bit different than everybody else. For Albertini the era of midfielders was chock full of wingers and central midfielders who loved to be on the ball and attack their way up the pitch, but that wasn’t Demetrio. Demetrio did it his way, working and winning the ball around the center circle and either spraying the ball to the wings or carrying it to around 30 meters from goal and blasted long range shots on that made even the best goalies cringe.

Beckham, CRon, and all the other great strikers of the dead ball, need not look very far for one of the most underrated players I have ever watched. But another thing that Albertini did, that is a far cry from the players of this era, or even then, was he did everything with humility and a smile. He could have easily whined his way out of Milan when he was no longer in the winning eleven, but instead he left the squad on good graces and ultimately ended his career playing for another legendary club in Barcelona.

His humility was recognized and remembered by Milan, and he was honored much like the heroes before him in the video below, and though he may never go down as one of Milan’s all time greatest players he will in fact always remain a player that a child, much like myself, would do well to emulate and aspire to be like because of the way he went about his business. He may have never won the golden ball, golden boot, or even the player of value in tournaments and so on, but his contribution can’t be denied or forgotten.