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Rossoneri Advent Calendar Day 12: Nelson Dida and the Penalty Jitters

31 Days Remembering Players From Milan’s Past, Each Date Will Feature A Player Who Donned The Jersey Number.

FUSSBALL: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 02/03, AC MAILAND - FC BAYERN MUENCHEN 2:1 Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Nelson Dida played a starting role for AC Milan between 2002 and 2010 after overcoming a visa issue to finally feature for the Rossoneri. The Brazil international would go on to win a wealth of trophy with the club and feature in three Champions League finals. He would also win a World Cup (as a bench player) and a Confederations Cup (as a starter) for his national team.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Final - AC Milan v Liverpool - Olympic Stadium Photo by Martin Rickett - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Dida struggled toward the end of his Milan career and while many will remember his terrible fumbles and slippery fingers toward the end, I take on the task to remind you of a goalkeeper so talented, Juventus players refused to take penalties against him during the 2003 Champions League final. Dida was best known for his ability to make saves against penalties and was notorious for breaking opponents confidence before they took the shot. He proved his class when he saved three out of five penalties in the 2003 final and one out of four penalties in the 2005 final. He would also make incredible saves during the 2007 final including denying Steven Gerrard from within the box. The Brazilian keeper played in an unprecedented three UCL finals in five years and walked away with two trophies. In the process, he became that third most capped goalkeeper for Milan behind Christian Abbiati and Sebastiano Rossi. Dida was the ultimate goalkeeper to have in a European final and he was truly a Milan great.

Achievements with Milan

  • Serie A: 2003–04
  • UEFA Champions League: 2002–03, 2006–07
  • Coppa Italia: 2002–03
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2004
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2007

Top Highlight

Dida's best moment came in the 2003 Champions League final where he saved three out of five of Juventus’ penalties to boost Milan to the title. He kept out David Trezeguet, Marcelo Zalayeta and Paolo Montero as Milan won the all-Italian final. Watch his incredible saves here or below.